Category Archives: Humility

Antierra Manifesto-blog post #89

(In which an unexpected but hoped-for development changes the way the game is played.)

The difference between I and them is obvious to me in this moment.  They are more intelligent than I, being in their own element.  They are better equipped to understand.  They are more aware of the obvious.  And certainly they have more experience.  So what do they need of me?  They need the catalyst, that which forces change.  That’s all I am.  I have to put myself in the center of this latent force to create the explosion.  I am the mine that causes the avalanche; the detonator that causes the charge to blow.
End blog post #88
_________________________
Begin blog post #89

So I say, “Good, we talk.  Now I tell you truth.  You women, you know answers to question already.  Is all in heart, I say true.  This I know.  What you say is only little bit what each one know deep in heart.  Afraid you are say stupid thing, other women make fun, get angry, think stupid.  So now I stupid speak for all.  I speak heart stupid for all women.  Listen.

“Is possible love all men.  Is possible be only good, not do evil to men like men ask.  Is possible everything.  But not safe to do, not always wise to do.  If women refuse obey men, women all killed, yes?”  They grunt agreement. 

“Agree.  Not good thing.  But if evil in man come from hidden beast, how to fight evil?  Must find other way.  Satisfy men, satisfy women.  How Anti beat evil Warmo?”

“Fight Warmo.  Kill Warmo.  This we know.  This we do always.  No good.  More Warmo men come.  Same thing happen.”

“If Warmo say, ‘Sorry, I do this no more.’  What Antierra do now?”

“Kill.  Warmo lie to save life.  Anyone lie to save life.”

“If Warmo say truth and I kill, who wrong now?”

“Warmo do wrong, die.  Cannot live.  Do more evil.  Truth not important.  Kill Warmo important.”

“Wrong.  Truth important.  If Warmo tell truth, Anti let live, Anti die.  Warmo different now.  Spirit of Anti in Warmo.  Try to help women.  Change many things.  See King, see good doctor.  Powerful man make life better for all women.  Is possible.”

“This stupid speak, Anti?”  The question comes from a very young, newly arrived trainee, a gorok.

I reply emphatically seeing a real opportunity to reveal the ‘humble’ and totally honest/innocent side of the Teaching:  “Yes this stupid speak – my stupid speak.  Say what many afraid to say.  Say that maybe woman can hear man talk in heart; understand man.  Love man.  Not for favour from man, but make man feel good.  Say that maybe man good too.  Say push evil out into shadow, speak with man as speak with woman.  Kind.  Stupid speak say even if man hit woman, not understand, woman still love man; not hate; not fear.  This stupid speak from old, stupid Anti.  I know no more.  You – all you – decide how you live.  As always same… or try stupid speak.”

The young trainee gorok speaks again.  “I be #1341-15-07.  Tieka is name I give goddess to know by.  I not want be fighter.  I thinking maybe I die, not kill man.  See too many evil things.  I no want do bad to man.  Now I stupid speak too, to all women,”  She indicates all the cages with her arms, “kill me if no like.  I be having love with man.  Special good feeling.  He be having love with me.  He no take other women, only me.  He touch me, I feel good.  I touch him, he say he feel good too.  He look at me, I feel good.  I have love for man.  He have love for Tieka.  I keep this now.  If I kill man, I kill love feeling too.  So must die to keep.  This he know.  He very sad for me.  Cry.  I see water on face.  He good man; he very good man.  I too very sad for him.”

I hear gasps and grumblings all over the cages at this revelation.  But this is an omen, much more powerful than anything I could have said or done, more powerful than any storm that could bring this keep down.  This is the key to our victory.  After all the years I spent here, this is the first public expression of a woman’s love for a man, or a man’s for a woman (taking her words for it and I entertain not a moment’s doubt that this child is telling the whole truth – she has put her life on the line for it among her peers.)

Now it’s my turn.  To be perfectly understood I choose pidgin talk again.  “Gorok Tieka doing stupid speak for all us.  Listen from heart now, women.  Listen to girl-woman Tieka with love in heart.  This I say is great gift from goddess now.  This Tieka strong woman, stronger than all us.  Ready to die for love of man.  Die terrible death you all know – flogging for not obeying.  And maybe if man found, he too die terrible death.  Evil now ready to destroy this love.  Is like little green thing grow by stone wall near wash trough.  Do we pull little green thing and give to trainers to destroy?  Do we hide, protect?  What we do now?”

Silence greets my question.  Then from farther in the cages a woman speaks: “Kill gorok.  She make big trouble for all.  Stupid.  Make gorok tell of man, report man to handlers.  Then I say kill gorok.  This big, big trouble.”

Hate.  Fear.  Jealousy.  Reactions to something new, challenging, dangerous, and the basic pseudo-human selfishness that resents something that could benefit another but not the self.  I must counter this thought with logical reasoning, not emotion.

“Listen women.  This from toughest fighter you see ever.  I say we take gorok in heart.  She be new change for us, this place.  I say we find power to keep Tieka from arena.  I say we protect love, all us, do what can to save from evil.  I say we make vow.  We protect, hide Tieka and man.  Say we find heart way for escape from here, take man with her, go into desert, into south far, far away from men, from evil eye. 

“Now must know.  Must hear from fighter who say ‘kill gorok’ – need know how woman feel now.  Must know deep heart truth from woman; if fighter talk to trainers, if  have Tieka and man killed.  Must all know.”

I hear guttural noises deep in the cages.  Angry talking.  I wait, trying not to listen to the arguments.  I hold Tiki close to me, wondering what she is thinking.  She hasn’t said a word, yet this was the same argument we had had long ago.  How do you love in such a place?

The same condemning voice is raised above the wind and sound of whipped rain on the tiled roof far above.  “I be woman who say ‘kill gorok.’  Friend and I talk.  We think this change dangerous but maybe good like Teacher say.  I be Gonda.  On name I promise protect gorok Tieka.  Promise to help if can.  Understand why must do this now.  I think time for change come for us all. I think Desert Beast coming awake for us.”

The effect is electric.  General agreement is voiced throughout the compound and all those near Tieka put their hands on her.  In their hearts they are intoning a protection chant over her.  We have unity of spirit.  I squeeze Tiki’s hand and whisper to her, “Things changing Tiki.  Much sorrow yet to have but things changing for good now.”   She wraps her arms around me and squeezes hard, holding on and sharing her joy at being part of this, not, I sense, understanding it all and a bit lost in the process.  After all, she is one of those  purebred fighters, the result of the breeding of certain lines for qualities desired.  In some ways she is much like the Cholradil with little latitude for choice.  How could she understand Tieka’s abhorrence of killing?  In the worlds of compromised morality… well, I have to admit, there be different levels of ‘love’ evidently.   Antierra old girl, there’s hope for you to learn new tricks yet.

Now the truly difficult part: to detach from these momentous events so as not to get devastated if disaster strikes ‘tomorrow’ – if someone recants and sells out Tieka or if the lovers do something truly stupid.  Win, lose or draw, I must carry on.  Other matters to attend to.

End blog post #89

Perspective on Time

a perhaps poem,  by   ~burning woman~  

Perspective on Time

Are you the Goddess? asks the child in innocence
from a world in quasi-ruins — Are you the one
they say, who’s to return and change things?

The vision, of ageless mien and beauty, smiled
Never fear, child, I am no Goddess
though in my foolishness and ignorance
such did I believe myself to be once.

I do not understand
spoke she, innocent eyes taking in the majesty of the being.

The simplest things are often the most difficult to understand
but I will explain and you will understand me.

Once upon a time in time lived a truly beautiful young woman
and through eternity rode a young God who offered his hand
and a promise to make her his queen in time.

She took it, and eagerly, so proud was she of her beauty
and together they rode through the flowing sands of time
across the universe of time, to its very edge.

She saw the horizon there and asked him what lay beyond.
Beyond what? he replied, confused, even irritated.
There is no beyond – we’re at the edge of time,
at the edge of the realm of the Gods.
I am of the Time Lords and nothing — absolutely nothing
exists beyond our realm. And proud he was,
and so sure of his claim upon the All That Is.

He turned and they rode on
and though the beauty and excitement she experienced
were almost too much for her heart to bear
in her dreams she kept seeing the edge of time
and beyond, the shimmering horizon. And she thought
she could hear music calling her to put words in it.

I want to return to the edge of the worlds
she said one day, suppressing a yawn,
for I am getting bored with this unchanging landscape,
this museum to time you call a throne.

It is no longer permitted, said he,
for they heard of your longing and they said it was evil.
Evil, you hear?
and he raised his voice to her,
but it was he who was filled with fear, not she.

In the dark of night she arose, fled her comfortable dungeon.
Taking her black stallion she rode madly under the stars
out of the Gods’ enchantments and across the universe.
Finally, exhausted, starving, and utterly alone
she dismounted, sent the spent horse back, and stared:

For there it was once more: the magic shimmer,
the dancing line beyond the edge of time
calling her into a new dream.

I jumped, child. I jumped into an ocean without time
and I swam madly at first until I tired and stopped struggling
then it supported me and I walked as upon a rolling carpet,
then I stopped walking and it floated me and I flew,
a star among stars and there was no longer any line — anywhere.
That’s when I saw it for myself,
the gift of freedom stolen by the Time Lords:
infinity.

How come then you are no longer a Goddess?
the child asked perplexed, if you are so strong?

Ah child, let me tell you a terrible secret:

the Gods and their Goddesses are slaves —
slaves of time and bound to it forever —
for they made it, and it must begin and it must end.
So within its walls they declared themselves the Eternals:
only in frozen eternity can Gods and Goddesses exist.

But I, in seeking beyond the edge of light;
in probing the shimmering darkness of the unknowable
found my power and earned my freedom
and you, in holding to your innocence
can hear me, and thus if you so choose
may you reject the hand of the Time Lord when he rides by,
asks for your hand and offers you
a seat of honor upon his throne of time where you will become
as a priceless work of art in a gallery
where such works are as common as grains of sand
upon an ocean’s shore.

And just as asleep.

Beware, human child, of what is easily offered, given;
beware even more of easy acceptance.
For such gifts have to them a very dark side.
Some day, after the Time Lords have wooed you;
if you refuse their token love,
if you remain steadfast to this vision
I shall pass by again,
not to offer you my hand for you to follow,
but to be a companion, should you be wanting one.

And no one can know what songs we shall sing,
there, anywhere, everywhere
and forever as we plunge laughing

into the unmade.

The Edge of Human

The Edge of Human (Borrowed title from Blade Runner 2 by K. W. Jeter)

[Voice of   ~burning woman~   as heard from the Other Side]

In the beginning was the Past.  Father God stood alone, last remaining Titan, proud in his quasi-Omnipotence gained from the overthrow of his enemies.

He created Time, the lever with which he would reach across eternity and weigh all life.  And he stood at one end, holding it, fondling it, loving it.  Then he created the fulcrum, which he called the Present and which history named the Christ.  Then he created the slave, the man. 

But the man was cold and afraid in the dark and cried.  And she heard his sobs in the darkness and drawn by compassion, came forth to comfort him.  She came from Spirit, without father or mother.  And she made herself human for him and called herself woman.

“Be not afraid” she said, pressing herself against him.  But the man was provoked by her naked truth and violated her.  Then she saw the emptiness of his soul, the ugliness of it.  She ran from him but could not go far.  She became heavy with child as she walked down the time ramp hoping to find its end.  She bore her child in pain and horror but also in love.  It grew heavy in her arms and took the life from her as it suckled greedily and painfully. 

Father God felt the presence of her weight and that of her child upon his lever and in his quasi-Omnipotence, pushed down to force her to come to him.  He sensed a great fear and hatred of her, as if she could somehow put an end to his self-delusion of Omni-grandeur.  The woman, whom he called Eve struggled along the incline of the lever, intent on finding the end.  She knew if she surrendered and went back she would be swallowed in the anonymity of slavery and her child would die a spiritual eunuch.  But her humanity pulled her down.  Exhausted, she dragged herself upward, splinters entering her hands and knees.  On and on until finally she could go no more and collapsed.  She put the child down and waited.  

“The End, my End, will find me here.”  She reasoned.

“Why have you stopped, Eve?” Came a gentle voice from the darkness before her.

“I can’t go anymore.  I am empty.  My child is starving.  This is my end.”

“It never is, Eve.  You have travailed throughout the history of humanity and you bore the future in your womb and in your arms.  You suckled it from your spirit.  It surely will not die.  And neither will you.  Listen carefully — It is always the darkest and coldest just before the dawn.  You are not dying, you are changing. 

You’ve come to the edge of human. 

Look at your child – it’s not like you, nor like its father.  It is all that you ever wanted for your world and yourself.  Let it stand on its own.  It will take your hand and lead you into a new world.  The world in your mind.  For that is who this child is: your world.  You created it, from your hopes, dreams and feelings.  From your sufferings and pain.  From your dignity and strength.  From your walk that refused to surrender to any man, demon or God.”   

And her child stood beside her and picked her up.  With one blow, the curtain of darkness was rent in half and she saw a shimmering light beyond, at the end of the coarse wooden ramp she’d walked on for so long; where she had left a trail of tears and blood.  The great hell of time deflated like a balloon behind her and she walked forward, knowing that she was now more than human, more than god or goddess, something entirely new. 

But she remains Eve, mother of all life. 

“Follow the raven into shadow and you will find the light”  (medicine man saying)

 

The Sacrifice

          a poem – by Sha’Tara

“It’s mine to think on, mine to decide, mine to know —
mine to act upon” – so she thinks alone in the dark
as the day wears upon the snows, rivers, forests and mountains;
upon bloodied cities of men and upon their children’s ghosts
as she conceives it all — the torrential flow of despoliation
filling every valley, leveling every mountain, drying every river.

“It is mine to do as I please in this respect!” Invisible
she stumbles through her thoughts, alone in the crowd,
jumbling the words that will not form the proper conclusion
she is looking for in her mind — “mine, not theirs”
she repeats endlessly as the fouled winds suck her breath dry.

“However unacceptable, however deformed, however strange,
my life belongs to me and me alone. It is mine.
Thus am I empowered to keep it, or to give it away:
who shall gainsay me in this? The gods?
Those who had me killed for my healing hands?
Those who said the Devil empowered me?”

“Perhaps the Devil rules this planet of the damned —
his works are plain enough for all with eyes to see —
but if that’s so, the God who craves humanity’s love
most certainly is drunkenly asleep on His crystal throne
with not one daring enough to wake him from his stupor.”

“So, earth, I ask you: if those in whom you trusted
have abandoned you to the ravages of entropy;
forced you to serve them as an aged, denuded whore,
will you accept my help this time around?
Will you speak to me if I bring you the wisdom you lost?
Will you turn your heart to me for the compassion I carry?”

“Will you this time accept the alien cast upon your shores
and agree ’tis time you should humble yourself
before the one who would pardon your waywardness
and teach you the one sure way to save your innocents?
Will you reject your false lovers, your handsome Powers,
your predators whose hearts carry the stench of death;
your oppressors whose mouths are filled with carrion?”

“Will you settle in my cupped hands as a wounded bird,
seeking refuge from your emptiness and loneliness?
Will you draw close to my open arms under the moon
when I offer you my life to heal your boils and open sores?

There is coming upon you and I the day prophesied
when the sun shall not rise as expected and the stars will fall;
when a poison of darkness will seep into your very marrow
and death will proclaim his victory over you and yours.”

“In your pride you said: “This shall never be.”
for the people said you were a goddess of power:
Gaia, they called you, and you accepted this false honour
though it never was yours to accept – and you knew it.
I just wanted you to know that I know – for it was said
that all things would be laid bare, even the deepest secrets
and they would belong to those who sought for truth.”

“Here’s my olive branch, wrought from my heart, my very life,
offered to you without strings attached: will you take it?”
And without waiting for an answer she continues her walk
whether to hall of fame or scaffold, she no longer cares
for now she sees it all and all makes perfect sense.

“Yes,” she sighs, no longer in weakness but in renewed strength:
“I will do what I determined, what I set out,
what I came, to do for ’tis I who since before time
carried the humble title of Gaia the compassionate.

I never lusted after power, I was, I am, I will always be
the giver of Life, the final rest for the innocent:
I AM
                                Woman.”

The House at the Crossroads of the World

[a short story by    ~burning woman~    as told by Sha’Tara]

As I sat by the River one day and pondered the state of the world I had a thought: I will build myself a home at the crossroads of the world. So I did.

My home had a good roof but it had no walls, just posts holding it up. I planted ivy, honeysuckle, clematis and sweetpeas by each post and they grew swiftly and beautifully. I was very pleased.

First a family of refugees passed by and they came in to rest, drink of the cool, clean water and eat from the garden I had planted. Sated and after a good sleep their children ran out and played in the fields. Their laughter filled the air and more birds sang.

A couple of starving, ragged men came by and asked if they could stay for a while. I smiled and said, ‘Look, no walls, anyone is welcome here.’ They were gays who had been persecuted and escaped with only their lives and the clothes on their backs. Soon they were playing with the children and entertaining them with tales and magic tricks.

A group of migrant workers heading north came by and also partook of this unexpected hospitality. They were earth people and soon they had my garden cleaned and explained about plant symbiosis. I could grow much more food if I did it right. I learned much from them in that too short a time.

Some young girls came running, crying, and stopped at the house. I invited them in and they shyly came, sat down and explained they had escaped from a van filled with sex slaves bound for the black market. They got washed in the creek, ate and slept together in a corner of the house.

The honeysuckle was in full bloom and its sweet smell filled the house. In the dark we sat in the house and sang, each her or his own songs and everyone listened in awe. It was so good to find each other here and not worry about any difference.

It was too good, actually. They had watched the comings and goings to and from the house and in that country the government and its propaganda press declared that it was a terrorist training center. So they sent the drones.

We are all dead now. I am dead too but since I am mind and not matter I am made of memories. This story is a memory, and it is real.

There is no longer a house at the crossroads of the world though there are walls everywhere and for that reason the world is dying.

Compassion in a Nutshell: an Explanation

OK, here goes, my stumbling attempt to clarify something that is way out of my league… but someone’s got to do it, and I promised!
Caveat: I may have posted this a couple of years ago…

Compassion in a Nutshell, as I was taught, how I experience it daily
by   ~burning woman~   expressed by Sha’Tara

What it isn’t: When I speak on compassion as I was taught by the Teachers and how I experience it, I’m never talking about a common mixture of feeling and emotion, of love, like, attraction, desire, lust, romance, or any of the usual social relationships. It is none of those.

What it is, point by point: Compassion is utterly selfless. Whatever I give to another is entirely for that other, no thought of “what’s in it for me” involved in the transaction. At the same time I realize that any expenditure of “energy” on my part is immediately replenished and added to. Since I am fully aware of this now, I have to say that although it seems a contradiction, my motivation is both, selfless and selfish.

Compassion is inclusive. This needs to be understood very clearly because the compassionate being has no enemies… ever. What is an enemy? Obviously someone you fear, either because s/he has hurt you in some personal and real way and would continue to do so, or it is someone your society has demonized. You fear and you hate. You want protection or you want to attack. These are emotional responses. In this area it isn’t forgiveness that heals, it’s compassion.

Compassion is non-emotional. In compassion there are no emotional responses. This also must be clearly understood. In the previous case of “the enemy” the concept disappears completely if there is no emotional response involved. Does that mean then that the compassionate person is android-like? Not at all. If anything the compassionate person develops and experiences deeper feelings than a normal person. I find myself constantly reacting strongly to events normal people hardly notice, take for granted or even enjoy. When I see someone eating meat the effect is mentally devastating, hence why I block any emotional response. To me all killing is murder and a “piece of meat” was a living, breathing, feeling “other” that a universally false belief backed by emotions, has turned into a billion dollar business from billions of helpless torture victims of “gastronomical” greed. Hunting, fishing, violent sports such as boxing or sports involving animals in which they suffer or are in danger of being seriously hurt – horse racing for example – these are all stumbling blocks to the empath. Try to imagine what the truly compassionate feels when confronted with instances of abuse, oppression, rape, genocide, war and mass shootings. It isn’t just “news” believe me: it’s hell. You don’t want to go there emotionally or you won’t come back. Compassion takes care of it by shutting down emotional response.

Compassion does not recognize special relationships. For a gregarious species this may be the toughest aspect to comprehend. “You mean I can’t “love” my child more than anyone else’s?” is a typical response. To a normal person such is unthinkable. So perhaps it can be explained. First, compassion doesn’t care who or what you choose to “love” or “hate” because that is neither here nor there. Compassion, being, shall I say, “higher” in nature and power than all known types of love, overrides those emotions in any case and neutralizes them. The compassionate being has no use for special relationships, they just cloud the issue. So if you already have special relationships that need your presence, input and support, compassion will certainly not prevent you from doing your duty. The difference is that these relationships, these people, animals, things you may own, are not central to your life and do not determine your thoughts and acts. You are first of all, compassion — not just compassionate — and everything else is secondary.

Compassion is never reciprocal. Another point that has to be clearly understood. Most if not all Earthian relationships exist within some form or reciprocity even if it’s just a form of recognition for altruistic acts. Ego (I don’t like using that term but most people understand what is meant by that) is usually involved in normal relationships, from the dependent to the seductive to the gimme-gimme; the protective to the controlling. I could truthfully say I suppose that compassion is self-rewarding, that it is its own reward. Indeed it doesn’t take long for a compassionate person to realize how much the practice empowers! This empowerment is highly beneficial to both, body and mind. The immune system works better and there is no energy wasted in lust, regret, recrimination, jealousy, competitive behaviour, fear or anger. There is neither a sense of gain, nor a sense of loss as far as relationships go because compassion overrides the great “need” that drives individuals into exclusive, controlling relationships.

Compassion demands, and feeds, self empowerment. A crucial point. No dependent or non self empowered person can claim to be compassionate by nature. They may express aspects of compassion at certain critical times but much of that will wear out quickly, or wear the person down because in all cases it will be the result of some response to an emotional appeal and terribly entropic. A compassionate being is a self empowered being for the two go hand in hand.

Compassion results in detachment, not just from special relationships but from “the world” as it is often called in spiritual circles. Compassion makes it possible to realize the true nature of joy and sorrow. As with so many concepts, joy and sorrow are usually misunderstood and lumped in with pleasure, fun, happiness and sadness, pain, unhappiness, grief, loss, etc. Notice that these aspects of happy/unhappy are essentially ego-centered, i.e., selfish. It is what one feels and gets emotional about. Properly understood, joy and sorrow come from empathy. Joy contains all the good being experienced by the world and conversely sorrow contains all the evil being experienced. As explained to me, Joy and Sorrow are twins, one who walks in the light, one who walks in darkness. They can only meet when someone provides a bridge between them and that’s what a compassionate person, or being, does. A compassionate being is never concerned about personal joy and/or sorrow. Taken care of.

The compassionate walk between the worlds of light and darkness and bridge the two. That is their greatest accomplishment until they move on away from here to things of higher consciousness of which I know but an inkling and cannot authoritatively speak of.

In a nutshell then, you are who you are at this moment. You make a decision to become a compassionate being. Being of sound mind you choose to make that your entire life’s purpose. Then you open yourself up completely to the “power” or “energy” your irrevocable choice brings to you. You proceed from there. You’re on your own for every decision you make and through every “battle” you must fight. Then you watch yourself become a different person until hardly anyone recognizes you. And that’s it.

“What if I enter into this thing and I fail?” one may ask. I don’t know, honestly. All I can think of is this: that anyone who enters into a life choice to become compassion cannot fail unless something was held back; there was a degree of “dishonesty” when signing on that dotted line. This thing I’m presenting here is in a sense a personal absolute. In and never out. If you’ve seen the movie “Men in Black” you will remember that signing on meant to become a different person and disappearing from your familiar world. You lost your name and became a “K” or a “J” or a “D.” This is something like that except that “you” gradually blend into “Compassion” and that is the new nature you then express to the world. Crazy, right?

If you were offered the key to saving your world, and your people, from a terrible catastrophe they’re bringing on themselves and you were convinced this was the real thing, what would YOU do? For me it wasn’t a difficult choice at all.

Best I can do in explaining the concept.

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #42

(continuing with the Manifesto… )

By mid-morning the twins return.  One has a long slash on her left arm which she holds as blood drips from the fingers of the limp hand hanging down.  The other woman is limping, but they have returned from their first fight and there is a look of triumph on their faces.  They have done what they swore to do and thought they’d never get the chance.  Two men died to pay for whatever horror other men did to these women.  They will survive their wounds and will go on to kill many more.  Their hate will never abate, that I know.  They have become killers of men.  They will never be anything less or more than that, until they are killed in turn.  By permission now long granted I escort and turn them in to the medics’ rooms for patching up and brief observation, the costs of such medical treatments having been paid by their owners.  Deirdre accompanies me and is permitted to attend to their wounds, thus leaving the medics to just sit and watch, doing nothing.

Expensive fighting animals taken to the vet after the fight: it is the way of it.

[end blog post #41]
______________________

[begin blog post #42]

I retrieve their weapons from the handlers and as I clean the long sword and bloodied axe, I shudder again. 

Such waste!  Such terrible waste.  No wonder this world is dying.  The black hole my friend the doctor is looking for – look no farther than into the heart of every person on this world.  Look at the blackness there.  That’s your problem, doc!  That and whatever Force is pushing the buttons of Malefactus.  That outside Force you won’t consider to exist.  You bastards who control this world from the spy-moon of Albaral, I’ll find you and expose you yet, I swear it!

‘And when are you going to get Deirdre out of this hell-hole, doc my very good friend?’  I my mind and heart I exude sarcasm and bile.

My thoughts jump naturally to Deirdre and Balomo.  I have to have someone to beat up on in my head at this moment, or I feel I’ll go stark raving mad, make a mad rush into the arena where the organized killing is still going on for the entertainment of thousands of brain-dead boneheads, and “go postal” as they used to say on Old Earth.

I grab the weapons tightly, one in each hand and walk down to the forge to have their cutting edges re-done, hissing my anger between my teeth, imaging this entire stone “fort” blowing itself to dust and joining the rest of the growing desert.  The blacksmith approaches me with his expectant erection and I make a gesture that says: ‘now would definitely be a good time to practice abstinence.’  Fortunately for both of us he understands and laughs his hearty old pirate’s laugh.  He won’t go without.  Some other girl will be available to him shortly.

On the way back I’m greeted silently by a Cydroid disguised as a handler.  As he pretends to escort me he whispers, more into my mind than ear, lips never moving:

“We have secured permission to take your friend to Koron as a special case study, not as a refugee.  You will have to perform your end of the bargain, covering for us, and her.  Are you ready and willing to do so?”

“I have been ready for over a year!  Yes, do it.  When is it happening?”

“Two days.  Dark night of clouds forecast.  The “King” has arranged to have many of the usual complement of guards busy at the court for his personal “protection” while we take her through the gates and alarmed sectors.  You will follow us until we cross the walk bridge across the moat and you will wander away along the water’s edge, then walk in and swim to the other side to make imprints there.  Then return immediately before the alarms are reset and the doors close.  You will have twenty three minutes.  Can you calculate that without chrono?”

“I’ll be swift, never fear.  I’m ready.”

“You cannot speak of this to the Cholradil, you understand?  She will be sedated when we take her.  There is no other way.  You will not say goodbye to her even though you won’t see her again.  You must not let her know something is going on.  Use anger to cover your feelings.  That works for us.  And above all, you must trust us to do what we promise to do.  You must never worry about her safety.  In time, the doctor will let you know how we fared and how she is doing and adapting.”

“You sound so confident… I wish I could be as much.”

“Be.  You must.”

“Thank you so much, sir.”

But he walks away as if he did not hear me.  I know he did.  It’s not their way to bandy or accept thanks, praise or blame.  They do what they program themselves to do until it is done or they reprogram themselves.  Now my mind fills itself with the risks of this enterprise.  Yes, the false king is on our side, of course, but he is only a figurehead in the whole gamut of Malefactus politics and economics.  His word is law only because some greater Force upholds it.  The position of King is used to control the people only.  But the real government of Malefactus resembles more the organization of a secret society.  Its ruling aristocracy is but a front.  There is a tight-knit secret oligarchy pulling the strings on this world.  Who are they and what do they want?

The questioning that will arise from Deirdre’s disappearance will not come from the courts, but from the dark, dreaded official inquisition.  Even the King is subject to the Force that instituted the inquisition.  This much I learned from Bal.  I know now that my greatest trial on Malefactus has begun and won’t end even long after she is gone, if I survive that long.  How much will I feature in their investigations?  What will it cost me?  How much do I love you Deirdre?  Never enough, I know, but in this just enough to see you off this world.  The rest is the rest.  

I step lively back to the training, involving myself in a bunch of details I’d let slip.  I upbraid a couple of fighters for sloppiness, striking one hard on the side of the head to demonstrate how easily one dies.  She flinches and rubs her head and I hit her again on her unprotected side.  She goes down and I jump on top of her, ready to spit her.  There is a look of pure terror in her eyes.

I step off of her and growl for her to stand.    

“Pick up your ‘fucking’ staff and fight me, damn you.  Fight me! You call yourself a gladiator?  You’re nothing but ‘pess.’”  (In our world the term means a combination of excretion of piss and sweat.  It is always used insultingly.) 

And I drive her hard until her fear changes to anger and she begins to return the blows in earnest.  Too late, of course, but an improvement.  Maybe she will last more than a couple of bouts if her challengers are drugged, or certifiable idiots.  We do get those.  Some people get lucky.  Will this one?

“Is there something wrong with your head?” I ask her.

“No sir!”  protocol – if I’m trainer, I have to be ‘sir.’

“Well if you’re not stupid, is it laziness?  Do you want to die on your first round?”

“No sir.”

“Then FIGHT!  Attack me, not to tickle me, but to KILL ME!

I say it so loud the sounds echo against the great walls and everyone stops to listen.  Trainers come running to me and I take a stance of humility.

“What is going on here?”

“Something new, sirs.  I have discovered that certain words help people respond to attack.  Perhaps we could be permitted to test my idea?”

“It will be taken into consideration.  One more outburst and it’s a flogging – for both of you.”

“I’m sorry sirs.  No more outbursts.”  And I watch them return to their brew and dice.  In this instance the threat would not be carried out but protocol was served.  They did their job.

I turn viciously to the trainee and use the ‘high’ language, not their pidgin.

“Do you understand now, girl?  You have some power you can use.  I just demonstrated how easily you can die, one from weapons in the arena, the other by violating rules.  The only reason we are not being flogged to death at this very moment is because of who I am, do you realize that?  I put your life in danger because I seek to save your life.  You owe me this: to listen carefully and to throw yourself body and mind into our training.  There is nothing else here for you.  No escape.  No miracles.  No fairy tales.  You will fight to the death every time you enter that arena. 

“Turn around.”  She obeys immediately.  I read her brand for her ‘age.’

“You have approximately one year left to prepare for these ordeals.  They will not end until you are killed. 

“If you do not wish to survive, tell me now and we won’t waste time I can best spend on those who wish to live longer.  You will go into your first fight and you will be tortured to death, not killed outright.  They will soon realize you don’t know how to attack, or even defend yourself.  And they will toy with you, disgrace and dishonour you and you will make the status of all women on this world even less than it is because of your lack of courage.

“We don’t fight only for ourselves.  We fight for all the women on this world.  The others only suffer and have no means to fight back but we do!  We are the gladiators!  We have weapons and we can learn how to use them.  It’s how we make our way.  You girl are not just one girl; you are all of us when you fight them.  Are we then all lazy, stupid, or cowards, as they like to think?  Or will you show them something different? 

“Every one of you youngsters has the potential to be the greatest female fighter ever to enter the arena.  Everyone.  All you need to do is find the key that opens the door to that new idea and believe you can do it.  Realize that if you can think it, you can do it.  Just follow through with nothing to look back on, nothing to lose.  This world hangs by a thread and the end of that thread is just within your grasp.  There is only one thread.  The men want to cut it.  You are the one called to prevent this from happening.  You get me?”

Does she ‘get’ me?  I fear not in the least.  There is yet no understanding of philosophy, of any sort of personal power one can tap into from within.  With these poor people, everything is physical and external.  If you have a weapon; if you are given permission; if you are challenged; if you are allowed; if you are physically able – you can fight against a man and maybe kill that man before he kills you.  But you gain nothing by it.  You just live to fight another day, that’s all.  You cannot improve yourself in any way. 

It is the way of it. 

And I’m sick to death of hearing that damned expression that says it all for all of us.  How can I communicate abstract ideas to these people?  They express white noise for thoughts and they have the limited vocabulary of a three year old Earthian child, exceptions noted.

[end blog post #42]