Category Archives: Loyalty

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #80

(A very short blog post, the end of the “fight of the beasts” and after a pain-filled recovery, Antierra will enter a new phase in the fighter compound. Although on the surface nothing seems to have changed, yet everything has with Antierra’s win over Warmo.)
____________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile I’m still pulling down to break his other wrist.  Another pull and another snap.  What his hellish cross did to my wrists in his dungeon I have returned to him.  I know I have won.  Bit by bit I tear away at him, breaking bone, tearing into muscle.  I stomp on his feet with the bionic-equipped foot and break his arches, making him collapse on the sand.  I continue to beat his body to a pulp.  I aim a kick at his genitals and rip one of them off.  A few more blows and kicks and I ease off slowly, watching him convulse and bleed to death at my feet.

I stand utterly alone.  There is no crowd.  No arena, nothing.  Just empty space with colours floating around me as if I were experiencing the Shearing drive effect. 

End blog post #79
_________________

Begin Blog post #80

What have I done?  From his own mind is see.  I did what he has done to thousands of innocent victims over the years he was master of the Inquisition and all the other lives he lived to oppress and destroy: I ripped his body apart bit by bit.  As he did to the males and boys he received for the torture, I ripped his balls out.  I could have done much more to him but I made my point to the crowd above me.

I put one foot on the mangled mess that had been Warmo and raising my bloody hands above my head I let out one final shriek, loud enough to be heard by the women into the compound.  I had told Tiki to listen for my cry of victory over Warmo.  I had instructed her to let as many of the women know of it, and to pass it around to those who couldn’t hear it.  I had warned her it could mean my flogging to death later but that I was willing to chance that for the power we had gained together.

Let them flog me to death – I have won.

Two handlers approach to take me.  Suddenly every once of strength leaves me, the world around me turns black and I hear a noise as a great waterfall.  I am aware that I collapse and the handlers, instead of holding on to me let me fall into the sand.

Even in the state I’m in I can understand their reluctance to touch me.  I’m a frightful mess and the smell of Warmo is all over me and how can they know it isn’t my smell?  They cannot even know for certain I’m still alive.

End blog post #80

Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #78

(Oh, where does the time go! – this blog post was supposed to be posted 5 days ago!  Sorry about that. Antierra is fully involved in a fight not only for her life – all fights in the arena are to the death – but one that, should she lose, will have terrible consequences for the women of Hyrete and the secret work of Dr. Balomo and his Cydroids. If she loses her entire effort at making changes for the betterment of the women of Malefactus will essentially be for nought. So she fights on…)
______________________________________________________________

Again we face each other, crouching, weighing our moves and their chances of succeeding.  The obvious for me would be to kick to the groin with my bionic ankle.  Problem is, he expects me to do that and will have a counter that will take me by surprise.  I cannot afford any surprises.  I forego the temptation and back away a single step.  He follows, comes forward and moves in closer.  I can smell that nauseating body odour of his in a change of breeze.  It smells even more of putrefaction.

End blog post #77
_________________

Begin blog post #78

I must find a psychological advantage, not a physical one: I don’t have one.  I move back another step and stand up straight, lifting my arms over my head as if I were giving him my body.  He goes for the bait and I lower my hands just in front of his face and after smashing my elbows on top of his muscular shoulders I grab his neck.  Before he can twist out of my grip I roll him to the side while dodging a kick aimed between my legs. 

When his leg comes up I release his neck and grab it, pulling it the rest of the way until he’s down in the sand.  I kick sand in his face and let him have the bionic kick in the ribs.  I feel the cracking and hear his harsh intake of breath and gasp of pain.  He recovers and attacks by grabbing my arm and twisting with all his strength.  I have no choice but to roll with the twist and in turn I’m in the sand.  I see his kick and close my eyes and mouth as a volley of sand hits me in the face.  I turn my back to him to pull him down on top of me while I raise myself on all fours.  He collapses on my back and I “buck” him off, jumping out of reach as he delivers another masterful kick that would have felled a horse and certainly broken my leg had I used it to block.  I dodge with a back flip that takes me momentarily out of his considerably slowed reach.

I wipe sand from my face and wiping my hands on my breasts and front, prepare for another attack.  He’s in terrible pain now, an angry, desperate wild boar cornered by dogs.  This is truly the most dangerous part of the fight.  He backs away, drawing me to himself instead of attacking.  I move in, crouching low, my hands almost touching the ground.  I expect him to kick at my face and he does.  I move my head just a fraction to clear his arc and when his foot goes past I grab his ankle, going with the lift.  He was expecting that and as he goes back he puts all his available weight on my holding arm and brings his other leg up and connects with my side.  A jab of searing pain tells me one of my ribs is either broken, cracked or severely bruised. 

I clench my teeth and move in again, as if I no longer cared, swift and deadly of intent.  I seek to grab any part of him and break it.  I duck under a jab and put a full fist in his face, breaking his nose, lips and a couple of teeth.  The skin in my fingers splits and my hand is covered in blood.  I chop at his arm with my wrist instead of hand then use the other hand to grab his left upper arm.  I fully engage the bionics and crush through muscle and tissue to the bone.  He screams and swings at me wildly, connecting my head and I have to release my grip as I feel I’m going to faint.  I jump back, seeing black and feeling dizzy.  He put a hole in my temple and blood is coming out.  I press my hand to it, pull the skin over the hole and scream in turn.  Scream in anger.  Scream to release what’s left of the fighting animal in me.

I regain my sight in time to block another deadly kick.  Now the crowd is standing up and cheering, jeering, booing, clapping, going wild.  The aristocrats are showing they are no better than the rest when it comes to admiring bloodshed and mindless violence.

I must disable his legs.  His kicks are the most dangerous part of his attack and defence.  I attack again, being a little more careful but still acting out my instinctive wild beast persona.  I snarl at him as I charge straight in.  He readies to finish me only to discover it was a feint.  I pirouette to my left and as I fly past him, deliver my own kick with the bionic ankle, connecting just inside the thigh, making him drop to one knee.  I spin again, and deliver another kick to his back and he goes down, rolls to jump up and I’m there waiting.  I grab him by the arms from behind and squeeze until my fingers feel like they are going to explode from the pressure.  I use my chin to dig inside his shoulders and see his face as a mask of pain.  He tries to bring his head down to bite but I’ve damaged that part of his anatomy enough he can’t use it properly.

Putting all his remaining strength in it, he pulls himself forward and sends me flying as I release his arms and somersault away from him, turn and stand.  I don’t feel right, as if one side of my body was dead.  I feel I’m going to stagger and fall.  But somewhere deep within I find a new force, a power to overcome the weakening flesh.  I take hold of the body that doesn’t want to work and move it as if it were on strings, a puppet.  I urge it to stand properly, to move its appendages and consider the next move.

Warmo is in at least as bad a shape as I am by now.  Still on one knee, his face a tangle of hair, mass of bruises, cuts, blood and sand, dragging a foot, he manages to stand.  This is going to decide the issue.  Will he find his own demonic power to pit against my new-found power?  I can sense him searching, trying to tap into my power now.  Focusing hate to me, and that deep and old  fear of men with authority and power that has managed to find me again so long after my lives on Old Earth. 

This is his power over me, he knows.  He pictures himself to me thus:  I see the spy who took over the leadership of the people I had come to love so long ago in Galilee and Judea, the serpent who destroyed the work begun by the man I’d hoped would change things forever.  I see the Christian judge in C-16 who had me tortured and hanged as a witch in England.  I see the father who rejected the blind daughter and condemned her to a short life in the wilds of Scotland in C-19.  I see the husband who beat me regularly in the barn on that farm in eastern France.  I see the SS Obersturmführer in Paris who personally directed the torture of female prisoners connected to the French underground and at whose hands I died.  I see Warmo himself, master of the T’Sing Tarleyn official Inquisition and my recent escape from his clutches.  He shows me that not only is he going to finish the job, but he’s going to get every woman still alive who was released from his torture that day. 

End blog post #78

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.”

Antierra Manifesto-blog post #72

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
_________________
Begin blog post #72

The Warmo, now a condemned prisoner, is escorted naked into our compound to choose his weapons.  There is much staring and gawking, but no noise as we had been warned the silence rule would be fully and viciously enforced while the Warmo was among us.  I could feel the tension and hate among the women.  There is not one here who would hesitate for one second to throw herself at him and tear off his balls and finish him off.  Well, he does not look cut.  He’s  not a eunuch so his lack of sexual desire towards his female victims must speak of something else.  Homosexual?  I could throw that in his face tomorrow.  And I’d just love to add that aberration to his public rap sheet!  Homosexuals are as common as sand here, but that can never be admitted to – another capital crime.  While female fighters and sex-slaves are expected to have same-sex lovers, males are prohibited from expressing themselves in similar fashion. 

I follow the Warmo’s movements as a hawk watches its prey.  What weapons will the rat choose?  The staff.  That’s good for me.  But he does not stop there.  He appears to have a special permit to use several weapons in any order he chooses.  He picks the long sword and the combination rapier and short sword.  Now I have to figure out his game.  There is no apparent sense to his choices so he’s worked out a system whereby he can defeat me with these choices.  I must logically deduce the reason behind his apparently random and meaningless choice.  He is escorted out and I ask permission to consider the weapons just chosen.  I watch the faces of the trainers when I make my request.  One of them sneers openly at me.  Ahah!  There is a connection between some information he has given Warmo and the choices.  Well, never mind that for the moment.  First concentrate in what order a thoroughly trained and professional fighter would use the particular weapons chosen.

First the staff.  Its strengths I am familiar with.  What are its weaknesses regarding the other weapons?  It’s long and thin.  A good blow across it with the large sword would easily weaken or even cut it in half.  Point one.  Warmo intends to switch weapons during the fighting, not during regular drinking breaks.  He starts with the staff, forcing me to match him, gets me engaged then switches to the sword and cuts into my weapon, breaking it and leaving me wide open to a thrust.  How does he intend to switch weapons so fast?

He cannot leave the sword just lying in the sand – a menace to his feet and I could grab it.  A scabbard!  He will be wearing the long sword on his back.  That has never been done in the arena but this is no ordinary fight.  We are billed as Beasts, therefore rules can be bent or broken to accommodate the fare.  Judges can be bought.  I have to remind myself of the awesome load of gambling money riding on this contest. 

Allowing for my intuition being correct, what about the rapier and dagger?  To carry poison.  Despite my invented stories I have no access to poison and besides I wouldn’t use it.  I intend to bring this creature down piecemeal, literally cutting him down to size.  I am the cat, he is the rat.  He may bite but I will get him in the end.  He is just one rat, not a pack.  This rat will use the long sword to tire me out if he hasn’t dispatched me with his switch already.  At the first opportunity he will trade for the rapier and dagger to make an opening for the poisoned tip to come in contact with my skin. 

What kind of poison?  Certainly the deadliest known.  It will be the concoction they call yalney, a deadly yellowish liquid stored in glass containers complete with glass stoppers.  Nothing else will hold it. If you put it on your blade it eats through it in about an hour on average.  They demonstrated this to me at the forge and I’ve never forgotten what it did to our beautiful steel.  It bubbles lightly and gels quickly on steel and you can pour it lightly over a surface that will contact flesh. 

Within fifteen minutes of contact anywhere on bare human skin the body begins to close on itself.  It impacts the nervous system, relaxing the muscles, first in the extremities then working its way to the heart.  The victim remains fully conscious for hours and finally goes into convulsions and spasms then death.  Very painful.  But imagine the pleasure the Warmo would derive from thus disabling me then proceeding to take me apart while I remain conscious?  He’d cut open my wrists and ankles and expose the bionic circuits to the judges.  He’d be vindicated…

Who will put the poison on his blade?  It would have to be put on while we are fighting, not before or it will have eaten through by then.  One of the floor judges or an assistant.  While we are on a drinking break.  Of course, simple.  After the break, he casually switches weapons as if nothing was out of the ordinary. 

I’m in a bit of a sobered state of mind now.  I realize I have my work cut out for myself in that fight.  Time to assess my strengths – I know my weaknesses and have dealt with that, perhaps a bit too much.  You can easily psych yourself out that way too.

Analysis of strengths. 

I’m at least as proficient in the use of weapons as is the Warmo.  I’m younger and faster.  I have bionic implants.  I have more recent training and most likely I possess superior weapons, simply because the “new and improved” ones were not in the weapons lock-up cases when Warmo made his choices.  My “special house blend” including all armour and my ‘magic’ sandals, is now being prepared and packed for the arena and will be safely stashed into the weapons lock-up shortly. 

Tiki was sent down to the forge to let the smiths know of Warmo’s choices.  I have already advised the chief smith I want him to personally bring up the weapons and armour, not to entrust them to his young charges.  I fear the jealousy and hatred of that young apprentice may have spread to the others and could result in deliberate sabotage or “accidental loss” of my weapons package.  Any such misadventure would certainly result in my death.  Who knows how long Warmo’s arm still reaches throughout the keep of Hyrete?  Who can know who’s been bought?

So much is riding on this match to the death.  So much, for the women of the keep, especially for Tiki; for my friend the doctor and his Cydroids.  At this moment I hold their fate in my hands.

I know that according to Elbran law, if the male “criminal” kills his female fighter, he is exonerated of all charges against him.  If this were to happen, Warmo would immediately be given his position and power back.  He would re-open his torture dungeons and sweep through the women’s compound to grab any of them who ever fought with me, were trained by me, slept with me or in some way befriended me.  Such is the pattern of psychotic hate.  I remember it so well from a life on Old Earth in C-20.  They called themselves Nazis, and the worst ones (called distilled villainy by one of my history professors in a following life) were SS guards.  You were guilty by association and torture was automatic if arrested. How many would Warmo claim?  How many tortured to death? 

No, this will not happen.  I have a job to do.  My training and my enhancements were all gifts to me exactly for this moment.  XBA9 was tortured to death so I would have this opportunity.  This is one of those classic turning points in history when one person, one “hero” can make the difference and everything changes, forever.

End blog post #72

 

A Man, a Survivor

[a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

A strange old man, a very ancient figure,
that’s who he was,
who he is,
who he will always be
.

A man of many titles in as many times:
poor Bill, mendicant, beggar and tramp.

At times,
panhandler, good-for-nothing loafer,
deadbeat, vagrant, hobo, gypsy
and in more recent times,
a welfare bum.

Sometimes this strange man
whom everybody sees, nobody knows
comes back from the sea,
sometimes from the wars or prison:
no one comes to the quay
or the bus stop to meet him

and to hug him.

Alone,
carrying a damp and dirty canvas bag
he limps down some dark alley
to find a familiar den,
a smoke-filled tavern, an inn.
a halfway house.

For a few coins, a room under a stairway
a garret with drafty shutters,
a condemned house

become his home ’til the angels come
or the demons, and who can ever tell?

Sometimes he just gets tired of jostling
for position and wealth – leaves one night
never to come back. Why for?

His wife re-married, does he care?
Who’s to know? Not even he
wandering the drafty city streets
with his new title and essential wealth.

He’s a successful miner now,
mining garbage for treasures
haphazardly arranged in a rusty shopping cart
(of front squeaky bent wheel
from an accidental encounter with a taxi)
until deposited for safekeeping.

They call him homeless now, the
politically correct term
for this strange old man who never did fit,
who in his youth had a strong back
to break up the coal, carry gear and pack a rifle
walk through flooded paddies
and burn babies in their mothers’ arms
inside grass huts in a land so far away.

He knew well enough then why he did this:
for God and country and freedom
they’d told him so and he believed.

He came back from the killing fields
to log the dark green hills
until the trees were gone.
He cleaned out curbs and culverts
for a pittance in part time jobs
to bolster free enterprise and capitalism.

“It’s all good” they said with a leer
and what could he do but believe?

He doesn’t remember much of that
and really, what does it matter now?
the rich got richer and died,
the dead remain dead
and he’s got his place
behind four loosened cement bricks
under a forgotten embankment
where he hides his “Precious”
and keeps a mouldy sleeping bag,
drinks, sleeps and feeds his nightmares
of bullets and blood,
of flames that roast flesh,
of screams of pain and terror:
the voices of the dead
his last remaining friends.

It’s time to work the streets again,
push the rusty cart with the squeaky bent wheel
until the angels return again
or the demons, and who’s to know?

He’ll be there again tomorrow
and the day after that
and even after the Great Day
there he will be in his dirty tattered rags
his long stringy hair blowing wildly
in the cold, cold winds that haunt
the endless dirty, drafty, empty city streets

What will his title be
next time I pass him by trying not to notice?

I think I already know this, in my heart
as I look around and ponder this place:
he’ll be the survivor.

Antierra Manifesto -blog post #58

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

[end blog post #57]
______________________

[begin blog post #58]

That night Tiki is angry.  Not at me, she knows nothing of my intercession to get her to work kitchen duty, but at the men. 

“Damn them, damn them, damn them!” she mutters in that hoarse whisper all females learn to speak in from the time they utter their first words.  “I be fighter, not gorok!  I train with weapon, not clean dirty bowl and sweep floor for dirty cooks.  Damn them!”  

A ‘gorok’ is a particular class of female worker slave who does the most menial type of kitchen work.  She doesn’t cook, or even serve.  She peels, grinds, husks and cleans, cleans, cleans, endlessly.  Her “shifts” have no set times.  She is up hours before anyone else, warming up ovens, washing utensils and cleaning counters and floors.  She sleeps, when permitted, during the middle hours of the day and of the night.  She is up late into the night cleaning, locked inside the kitchens with sensors ready to set off alarms if she walks outside her perimeter.  A slave of slaves.  There is usually a round the clock complement of eight of these goroks in our kitchens.

Because Tiki is my slave, she is allowed out of the kitchens at nightfall to spend the night with me.  I had hoped otherwise, but I can redeem this time, I think.  I fully enjoy her outburst.  There is fire in this one.  Not hate, not pride, just pure fire.  She has a dream, a vision, however short: to be the best fighter ever to grace the arena.  To beat my record.  I can tell.  Now to blend patience and humility into that fire so it can never be doused, whatever happens to the body of this woman. This one is going to develop into a true mind being, I can sense that already.  I have three years to prepare her to become a hero to the women of her world.  That’s sufficient when one has good material to work with.  It is my turn to do my hoarse communication.

“Come Tiki,”  she rolls between my legs and cuddles against my body.  “You be fine.  You no gorok.  You be fine fighter, best fighter.  Say you this every day.  Pick up broom, it ‘staff’ for you.  Sweep husks and peelings from floor like opponents in arena – just dust to Tiki.  Strong is Tiki.  Mongoose shaking cobra to death.”  She nudges deeper into me, her hair tickling my throat and begins unselfconsciously sucking her thumb.  I take her hand gently and pull the thumb out of her mouth and offer her my nipple instead.  She takes it greedily and smiles at me.  Haven’t I been here before?  Beware Antierra, the snakes aren’t all outside in the coarse grasses at the edge of the desert!  They be hissing from the very walls that contain you.

Wars aren’t won in a day.  They take planning, patience, courage and finally just the sheer gut of the fighters to win them.  Tiki does not take kindly to her new life.  From kitchen duty she is shifted to cleaning the straw in the cages and then to sweeping the yards and washing the blood on the flagstones where some of the women have been “punished” for certain infractions.  In this past week we were made to witness two “punishments” to the death, one of an older fighter whose owner cancelled his contract and condemned her to the next killing orgy.  She was put into a private killing orgy for the trainers, a bit of fun approved by the overseer.  She was led to the centre of the yard and  armed with nothing but a standard training staff, was viciously set upon by six trainers until they had managed to break several ribs and one arm.  When she could no longer defend herself they crushed her skull.  When she died they cheered and toasted their victory.  Old king Jestor would have been truly proud of these men.

The other, a trainee who had a nightmare and did not shut up in time when one of the women tried to awaken her, was flogged to death for breaking the rule of silence.  We watched, listened to her screams and pleas for mercy, her dying moans.  We heard the standard warning, returned to life as usual.  What I would give, had I anything to give, to enter the auto-medic and be given the heart of an android, or better, a heart of stone.  To not feel.  To not have to endure this suffering planet.

It is the way of it… and I cannot help feeling.  To cry?  To curse?  I glance at the bloody, pulpy mess hanging from that steel torture pole I know intimately.  I wonder why it is not I who is hanging there.  I imagine the life that was there, that is no more.  I sat next to her yesterday at morning meal and she smiled sadly at me under her eyelashes.  Well, maybe it is me there because I realize I cannot curse.  If I cannot curse, then I have incarnated all of it.  Each time another dies, I die two deaths: hers and mine.  Malefactus is a neuro-inductor and I am attached to its probes all the time.  

Under the wan light of Albaral coming through the openings in the high black stone walls Tiki and I talk in our cage as we nestle against each other enjoying the mutual warmth of our bodies.  Menial labour brings anger and shame from Tiki.  She is afraid they want to demote her to the rank of goronda, the general purpose female worker drone.  “Damn them!” – her favourite expression towards men in general.  That fire is burning dangerously bright.  The wick needs trimming or the flame will smoke up the glass and obscure the vision. 

I study my feelings for her as a hawk watches his prey moving unawares, feeding peacefully in the grasses below his perch.  I must let her take all of me she needs yet refuse to ever let her possess any of me.  I know how to do this, I know I can do it, but do I have the willpower?  How does an older woman not lose herself in those black pools of sadness that pass for eyes in such children who have never experienced childhood?  Creatures destined to die before they experience adulthood?  What does that make them?

I try my best logic on her.  “Tiki, listen me.  I good fighter, yes?”

“Yes sir, you best fighter.  All women say you best.”

“You trust me, Tiki?”

She replies with a hoarse grunt.  “Huh?”

“Trust.  Believe me.  You think me true to you?”

“Oh yes!  You say, I believe.”

This is extremely dangerous ground.  Who in their right mind wants to be believed by someone who will put her life at stake for what you tell her?  I speak slowly, pitching my voice so she can get every word, every inflection – the tone of voice to them being much more meaningful than the words used to convey it. 

“Good you believe.  But careful you be not believe everything I say.”  She tries to speak and I put my hand on her mouth.  “Wait, I finish, I explain.  I know things you not know.  Things good for me.  Maybe not good for you.  You, me, different.  You listen – I say – you try.  If work for you, is good for you, yes?  If not work for you, is not good for you.  I not know if good for you.  I guess.  I have vision.  Like you but is my vision.  You have vision to be best fighter.  Good vision.  I have different vision.  To be best woman; to be good woman.  I not good woman Tiki.  Good fighter only.  But man can be good fighter too, better than best woman.  But man cannot be good woman.  I have what called “exclusive” vision – be special. 

“You woman now.  What you want be?  I not understand you.”

“I want be more than what I be, Tiki.  Better.  In good ways, not evil ways.  I tired of killing.  Tired of blood and screams.  Tired all over.  Old now Tiki, very, very old.  But cannot go yet, cannot leave, cannot die.  I first find me, better me.  Good woman me.  I first do something good for another person.  If you not understand, no matter.  You remember I say this and put my words in your head.  They grow there.  Ideas.  You say to me woman thinks is stupid.  Is not stupid Tiki.  I think always.  Think, think.  I watch men, learn.  Design new weapons, train in new way for women to fight so live longer; so you live longer.  I stay here, not die because I want help women be stronger, live longer.  Is nothing else for me.”  

[end blog post #58]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #57

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

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

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

______________________
[begin blog post #57]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Speak sir?”

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

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

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

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

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

[end blog post #57]