Category Archives: Sex

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]

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]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #14

[begin blog post #14]

Chapter 8 – Questions Without Answers

“The correct way is to always tell the truth – unless it be inconvenient to one’s higher purpose.  Thus we learn to lie, using the truth for a shield against contempt that we may indeed lie while holding on to truth. The correct way is to be ever prepared to accept and suffer the consequences of being discovered in such truthful lies.” [Antierra’s Contradictions – Malefactus report] 

To my surprise the doctor shows up again.  He has me brought to his “office” – a space that is more like a small private apartment replete with all the conveniences taken for granted by the rich and powerful and I gasp at what I see here when I compare it to the cages where naked women lean against steel bars to sit or lay in straw for bedding and cover.  I remember a time when that room would not have seemed ostentatious to me, but rather ordinary.  My perspective has been greatly altered by the conditions I, as just another of thousands of female gladiators, have to exist in.

The doctor looks over my battered body and says, “The handlers tell me they noticed you have difficulties with your balance when entering the arena for a fight.  They say that they thought you were going to faint today.  What is going on with you there?”
I reply candidly, “Doctor, I don’t know.  When I walk into the ring I do feel as if I’m going to pass out.  For a few moments I cannot hear anything and everything seems to spin.  It isn’t that I am afraid.  There is a sickness in my stomach that makes me feel as if I were experiencing morning sickness during pregnancy.”  I describe my feelings in detail for him. 

He stares at me, uncomprehending.  ‘How could you know about being pregnant?’ his look queries.  I say nothing.  How could I explain that one?

He continues, “Every fighter is given a measured dose of powdered chakr in her last meal before the fight.  It gives a sense of heightened awareness and has been found helpful in saving fighters from early demise.  Perhaps it has a negative effect on you.  Would you rather go in without it this next time, then?  I don’t recommend it but if it should make you sick, perhaps it would be best if you tried fighting without the help of this drug?

“Also understand I’m giving you a choice here – you must never, ever, repeat this to anyone.  I may survive sex with you – enforcement of that rule would mean the death of everyone in this compound  – but not if they discover I’m actually giving you a choice in something.  To them it could only mean that I’ve fallen in love with you.  That is our death sentence, you realize?  They will certainly kill you and me if I demonstrate I consider you able to understand choice.  Must I kill you now in order to save my own life or will you obey me?” 

To make his point, he holds a syringe filled with a green liquid close to my heart.  Whatever it is, I assume it’s deadly. 

“Sir, I understand.”  I do not feign my humility.  I need this man.  I need the information I am certain he possesses which will help me assess my changing position among the women.  Maybe even allow me a certain freedom not allowed women in general.  And now I find myself falling into the deadliest trap of all: the utterly unreliable feeling of hope.

He undresses himself by pulling off his white smock, carefully puts it down on a stool and he makes love to me, directly, violently.  I try to slow him down, to move with him, to play him a bit.  He shows surprise and what I take to be some delight in the experimentation.  He comes and so do I!  Whether from the release of pent-up sexual need or the effect of the drug, I don’t know.  I suddenly feel wonderful even though I should have been fed and should be sleeping upon fresh straw in my cage by now, trying to forget the totality of my pain from my battered body. 

‘Do it again, I think, please do it again.  Hold me, come inside me again and take me with you away from here.’  But of course he does no such thing.  He puts his smock back on and looks me over, then just sits on his desk, while I stand next to him.  He puts his hand on my thigh, slowly moves it up to my vagina.  He stops there, thoughtfully playing his fingers through my pubic hair. 

Something troubles him.  Were it not for the speaking taboo, I would ask him what is bothering him.  But no woman is permitted to speak first.  She cannot initiate a conversation and can only respond when questioned. 

“Who are you?”  He asks suddenly, looking up at my face.  His tone says he expects an answer – a truthful answer.

If there is one thing you learn quickly in a situation like mine, as anyone who has ever been a prisoner, captive or slave of another, will tell you, it is to lie with the conviction that your lies are “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  So I tell the truth by lying, and lie by telling the truth until even I am confused about what I am saying.

“I don’t know what you mean sir.”  I state simply.  It’s true, isn’t it?  How can I tell him who I am?  I don’t even know for sure anymore.  Just another slave slated to die sooner or later, likely sooner.  Who am I?  Why am I?  I don’t even remember what I think I am!  I am so tired and I don’t want to have to think about what I should be revealing to him.

He presses on: “I think you know what I mean.  You are not like the others.  You were found in the desert.  I have all the reports filed on you.  No one had seen you before.  How did you happen to be there, among that group of rebels particularly, with nothing and no one with you?  They searched that area for days after you were found.  They probed the sands for hidden caches; looked for tracks or signs but nothing was found.  You can’t be from the deep south beyond the desert.  There are no known tribes that resemble you in size or shape or skin tone anywhere on that part of the world, perhaps nowhere.  I’ve never seen a man or woman of T’Sing Tarleyn who has your physical nature or body character.  Where are you from?  Were you dropped here?

He emphasizes this point.

“Dropped sir?”  I’m practically holding my breath, so close he is to the truth, yet so far from ever discovering it unless I tell him, in which case he will have no choice but to disbelieve me – unless my intuition is correct – he’s not from T’Sing Tarleyn but from another world and would be able to accept such an explanation. 

“What do you mean?”  I ask with as much candour as I can manage.

He changes his approach.

“Do you have a name, a real name, among your people?”

Before I can think about my reply, I blurt it out: 

“Yes sir, that I remember.  My real name was Antierra, which means “of Earth.”

“Earth?  I have never heard of that place.  What is that.  Is it a kingdom on this planet or are you from an Outer World?”

“If you mean from a world other than T’Sing Tarleyn, then yes to you it is probably an Outer World sir.  Please accept my saying so, though now you must suspect I could be lying – but I know I am not.  Earth is a planet not of this dimension – it’s what you would call an alien world.”

[end blog post #14]

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #12

[begin blog post #12]

Chapter 7 – In for the Long Haul

“If a path to the better there be it begins with a full look at the worst.”  (Thomas Hardy)

It’s a truism of war: short lives engender fast promotion.  I’ve been promoted to unofficial trainer of new trainees.  My unorthodox ways with hand weapons, especially blades has earned me some recognition. 

The next few months bring little change except I am fitted with a couple of different sets of armour.  One is just a basic skirt made of that same light alloy I realize now is not made of anything familiar to me.  I am fitted with forearm and shinbone protectors as well and have to train with these things on.  They are quite stiff and take some getting used to.  I fail to understand their purpose until I begin to train with the staff.  Ah, I discover that smashing the staff against bones of arms and legs is the preferred method of bringing one’s opponent down.  It can break a forearm or cause such numbing pain on the shin that you simply collapse.  The armour takes some of the blow allowing one to move out of range and recover.  The skirt is used to protect one’s loins from a sudden thrust by the opponent.  That leaves one’s thighs, ribs, hands and face exposed.  But these areas are the easiest to protect.

I’m fast on this particular weapon.  It’s as if I’d used it many a time before.  I have.  I remember reading up on this fighting method and practicing while preparing for my incarnation.  Yes, I know this weapon, but I did not know it could be so deadly.  These staves have pressure points in them that allow the user to shorten or extend them by as much as twelve “thumbs” (akin to inch on Old Earth) thus keeping the opponent always guessing at the distance to pull back, swing or thrust.  They also have one pointed end with which to spear, unlike the ones I am familiar with. 

“Can spear point of staff be poisoned, drugged as with the dagger, sir?” I ask my handler while studying the weapon.

“Yes.  Done all time.” he replies. 

No fighter would ever be permitted such a trick, even if such things were available to us, but for the male contenders there is no dishonour in trickery, however he brings down his opponent slave.  In fact dirty, deadly tricks provide additional entertainment for a paying and braying public that always demands something new and more exciting.  It is the nature of those who participate as spectators of organized sport in any society.  Lust for blood and varying levels of violence dominates their minds.  Deceit is always a part of the game, in sports and war.

I also train with a type of wide battle axe, by far the heaviest weapon used by female gladiators and not very popular.  But we do not make the choices so we have to train and ready ourselves to handle all the officially approved weapons.  With this weapon comes the other type of armour – a robe thing covering the upper body to halfway down the thighs and a helmet equipped with a chin strap.  I feel encased in this contraption, quickly chafing and sweating profusely.  It doesn’t have suitable slits to let me open my long legs wide enough for proper balance.  Bad design, or someone forgot my stature. 

I have difficulties handling the heavy weapon with sufficient speed.  My cut arm gives me trouble and my ambidextrous abilities are of no use.  I can only wield this thing one way, my right hand forward on the handle, my left holding back to guide the stroke.  I cannot switch sides without losing connection with my brain.  To make matters worse, the handle is round, straight and smooth all the way.  As soon as it is coated with sweat or blood it becomes all but impossible to hang on to, never mind use it effectively against an opponent. What I wouldn’t give now for one of those real axe handles of Old Earth.  I must find a way to re-design this ugly contraption if I’m to use it in combat.  Ugh!

I hate this method of fighting and would forego it if weapons’ choices fell upon us.  So I train the harder on this thing because I know that sooner or later someone, some spy, some paid trainer or even a female gladiator, out of spite or for some “favour” will reveal my weakness to an informant and I will pay with my life.  I won’t let that happen.  Too many questions left unanswered and too little accomplished in terms of touching upon the private thoughts of other gladiators.  I’m not even “at bat” yet as to sharing any kind of philosophy with the other women.  I’m still an outcast although the young ones’ faces light up when they train with me.  With our signals and low-pitched voice I tell them stories they find fascinating.  It doesn’t matter to me whether they believe me or not, enough that they consider me not only the best fight teacher but a great story-teller.

Day after numbing day, while women continue to be sent to the arena, some  returning cut and bruised, some never, I train.  For the time being at the very least I’ve managed to close my heart and mind to pain and the ever-present sense of fear.  I turn my attention to local details, studying the small but solid hierarchy of the compounds, overseers, handlers, trainers, medics and fighters, looking for answers to my many questions about the social fabric underlying T’Sing Tarleyn.  I search quietly, surreptitiously, for potential leaders, rebels, among the women, even among the men or for weaknesses in the stratified set-up.  I find little to go on.  I try to tap into the women’s minds and receive nothing but white noise – meaningless thought jargon in answer to my probe.  Is this a trick of the mind they play, or are they so brain-dead, confused, mad?  I can’t believe that.  They must have some natural, instinctive method for blocking their thoughts from probes and scanners, both of which I have become aware, are in use around the compound, in our cage areas and in the arena. 

That strange, advanced, inscrutable, esoteric technology that continues to haunt my mind and my dreams.  Where does that come from?  Who really rules this world?

From the other side of the spectrum, I’ve had sex with several of the handlers, trainers and male “nurses” or medics by now.  A couple of them are quite taken by me and I’ve become their “favourite” of sorts.  A dangerous play.  One of them comes to me now and announces that I’ve got a turn in the arena tomorrow.  I pay close attention because there has been no warning of such before.  This has to be something different, unusual.

“Your challengers come soon to watch displays.  You demonstrate skills with sword and dagger, staff and axe.  Word of advice, demonstrate greatest ability with axe, they don’t choose.  Demonstrate least with staff, they chose.  Simple.  That how you make success; turn things around to you, to owner advantage.  So you get to choose weapons after all, huh?” and he pats me on the butt, then casually puts his hand on my breast, fondling the nipple.  Reluctantly he removes his hand before he is noticed. 

However flaunted, the law remains in place: no male may have intercourse with, or demonstrate affection for, any female – under pain of death.  And everyone jealously watches everyone else for any advantage they may derive from blowing the whistle. 

Honour, indeed, hah!  I spit the word out in my head.  And I remember Tiegli.  I miss her terribly at night.  I miss her simple wisdom and her love for me, however brief that was.  And I wonder where she is now.  ‘Shut up – concentrate on here and now.  You are a gladiator.  A fighter, nothing else.’  So I tell myself and return to my work.

Two men, simply, almost poorly dressed, appearing anxious or nervous arrive through one of the stone portals I didn’t even know existed so perfectly does it blend with the surrounding wall.  They are directed to my exercise space and watch me make my moves with the weapons.  I survey them through my lashes.  Both shorter than I by a head – that’s normal.  No unusual musculature that I can see.  They do not seem to have that cat-like walk preferred by those who frequent the arena just for a chance to bet on a fight they are getting into.  Yes, there are professional fighters, killers, out there who make a living by killing us for those who employ them.  They are frowned upon but like bounty hunters, tolerated, as they take chances and cause the stakes to rise.  The women call them drooks.  These two are definitely not drooks, that much I know.

As instructed, I first use the axe and go through some rather esoteric moves, actually impossible in a real confrontation with a living opponent.  I make it look real by letting the heavy weapon slip through my hand and embed itself in a wooden sparring post cut and roughly carved to the size of a man.  They seem suitably impressed.  I then take off my armour and naked, go through my sword routine.  Again I demonstrate undeniable speed and skills with these, suddenly diving on my back and pulling the dagger, sliding it upward and stabbing the wood “man” in what would be his loins or stomach.  

Putting on the light skirt and protector pads, I then heft the staff.  I look at it suspiciously and thrust viciously but wildly at the wood post, missing it.  I pirouette, pretending to regain my composure and aim the side of the staff at the dummy but instead of hitting high enough to break an arm, or low enough to numb a leg, I hit it straight in the middle, the most easily defended part of the body.

My trainer stops me and upbraids me loudly, bemoaning I’ve made him look ridiculous as trainer.  He pulls the staff from my hands, orders me to remove the armour and sends me to wash.  The ploy seems to have worked.  I observe the two “contenders” choosing the staff.

[end blog post #12]

Antierra Manifesto-Blog post #8 – Tiegli

[begin blog post #8]

Chapter 5 –  “Tiegli”

 “One must be poor to know the luxury of giving” (George Eliot)

He knows nothing of love, just fucking and that’s fine by me under the circumstances.  He responds to his lust stirred by my overwhelming desire for sexual release and finds his satisfaction.  When it’s over for him, it’s over and I’m left with an incredible ache of in-completion.  ‘Damn you!’ I think.  Hiding my shaking hands by pressing them hard into my stomach I wait as he slips his white robe on and directs me outside.  He calls to another man sitting perfectly still on a stone bench against the wall to my right.  He is wearing a white tunic uniform and apparently reading on a slate.  To me he appears as an extremely handsome man, taller than the doctor when he stands up from his reading to acknowledge the doctor with a quick wave of his hand, an unusual greeting or signal, the arm bent at the elbow, the forearm extended forward and the hand, facing down, moved stiffly and rapidly across the body and back.

They speak low, the uniformed one casting probing looks in my direction.  I am the intense subject of their discussion.  Leaving me standing there they walk across the yard and through a heavy stone door that opens and shuts automatically and silently.  I am left confused and utterly exhausted with my slashed arm throbbing horribly despite the doctor’s assurances that everything is fine; that it’s only a flesh wound.

With nothing better to do, knowing I can’t walk anywhere without some male escort, I focus on that new character, the white tunic.  What role does that one play, I wonder?  It surprises me that in such a black-white, cartoon-like world that so much still happens behind the scenes – so much that all the research I did on this world and my painstaking efforts to duplicate my future experiences here come to practically nothing in actuality.  You can study a thing until you go blind and still, until you experience it, you really know nothing about it.  I realize it’s fear that makes my mind wander thus but I cannot help it.  I have to “grow” into this place or it is going to rob me of my sanity.

Forget all that you know, or think you know.  Such is my life now: a blank followed by a question mark!  I wonder at the value of past life memories.  How can they help one when thrust into an alien power structure?  Yet, what else have I got here?  I was warned I would get no “off-world” help while I remained here.  I’m the only source of all my thoughts and all the decisions I make.  The right and wrong of it all, it belongs to me alone.  I can agree with what I do, or I can judge and condemn myself.  Still, I must live or die by my own choices. 

Ah, choices!  I remember my long-ago discussions with friends on the subject of free choice; how I insisted there is no such thing.  Indeed, if nothing else, Malefactus is proving that I was unfortunately correct on that point.

My handlers (guards or trainers, I still can’t quite sort them out) finally remember to come for me.  I am ordered to wash in a wash trough then I am served a meal, alone, by a kitchen slave girl.  I realize I am famished and the food tastes good to me.  After I eat I’m taken inside the cage area and shoved into one of the cages where a woman is sitting.  She is typically broad shouldered with a thick, short neck and her pale, almost white flesh is covered with scars.  She is bald; one eye almost shut and her left ear is missing entirely.  Her right breast has a deep scar from a cut through it and the nipple is missing.  She looks up at me and smiles a crooked, gap-toothed smile.  She reaches over and touches me with her right hand. She is missing two fingers there also.

Female gladiators do not have names, just physical descriptions and fighting titles.  She is “The Crone” being the oldest surviving female in the line-ups.  No point asking how long she has been here, the brands tell that story accurately enough.  Hers tell me when she was born (1303, bred fighter class 04)  The next line indicates she’s been in this compound since 1316 and according to my brand it’s now 1328.  That’s twelve years of surviving hundreds of encounters; of fights to the death. 

When they turn off the lights we lie down side by side, holding each other and although I desperately want to sleep she insists on telling me her story. 

“Why did they put me with you?”  I whisper to her.

“For me, a favour by guard, one night.  Accept?  I speak with you,” she whispers back, “tell something very important for us.” She grabs my wrist as if to impress her thoughts through my flesh, “You know we have no name?  Fighters have no names?  But I have name, real name!”  Proud she sounds even in her whispering.  She points at herself.  “Tiegli – and it has meaning too.  Undaunted.  No Man hears this name, but all fighters here have, and they have much envy my luck.  Some they fight with this name – very strong name.  Also mean fearless.  I live this name, many years. 

“Listen: there is big fight tomorrow and die with four women escape to desert and bring back – you know this.  Tomorrow is killing orgy.  No fighter live after this no matter how many of men we kill.  They just come more and more.  We weaken with losing blood and so tired we can not hold weapon or stand.  Then they kill.  Sometimes give rape if we still have enough life, much hurt they give before we die – revenge for men we kill – ritual.  Vengeance ritual.”

Her story is short.  At age of ten she has already been sent off from her crèche to be trained as a fighter and is being held for auction in a female child compound.  There is a raid that turns into a blood letting until the besieged make peace by offering their attackers the “contents” of their female compound.  Now both sides fall upon the hapless females.  Tiegli is taken by a couple of young brothers and hidden.  They hope to keep her alive long enough to sell her on the black market that flourishes in certain parts.  They stuff her in a pack bag and from a tear in the side she is able to observe everything that takes place as the young girls are raped and killed, some tortured viciously.  She sees her best friend gang raped then cut open across the stomach.  She throws up inside the bag and forces herself to pass out.

As a bag of grain stuffed in a pack, making no sound and no demands for food or water, surviving the heat in her vomit and excrement, she is bounced along for two days strapped to a harness carried by male slaves.  She is taken out during a violent storm in between suns twilight, staked out in the rain to wash where she is inspected, haggled over and sold to buyers from Hyrete – the fortified city we are in now.  Hyrete is a major center of commerce and entertainment in Elbre, but also distinguished by being the capital city of the kingdom of the royal house Tassard. 

So the people of Elbre are called the Tassardi.   The only other major “kingdom,” actually a so-called unified republic ruled by an oligarchy of merchant houses, is Estáan.  The people there are known as Estáani.  While complete enmity officially exists between these empires and dependencies, there is much slave trade between them.  As elsewhere, business knows how to take advantage of enemies as well as friends.  The bottom line remains the bottom line.  Trade is good.  War is even better.  First and foremost, profit.  Then whatever.

During her training in Hyrete there is an uprising while a multi-event killing orgy is taking place.  She is taken by the group of rebels and with male help and the use of two stolen “carriers” they flee into the desert.  The rebel leader baptizes her and gives her the name of Tiegli.  When they are captured, as inevitably happens, the ring-leaders are executed by torture and she is returned to the compound.  They cut off her ear and shave her head.  She would never be allowed to grow her hair again.  She is entered in her first fight much too young and almost killed.  Fortunately her opponent is a young foolish buck with little experience.  She barely manages to bring him down and the fight is terminated before she has to kill him.  After this, it’s just fight after fight, kill after kill.  From training/holding compound to the arena and back.

“Why do they do this?” I ask.  “Why do they fight you if they know they will get killed?” 

She chuckles in the dark and pinches me, “They say honour but mostly is money.” 

“Honour?”  I ask.  “How can there be honour in killing a woman, or being killed by one?”

Another chuckle, “You not know these things?  Some, we say you from the land, the rock of T’Sing Tarleyn.  Some, we say you Desert Beast rise from desert sand, come to help women.  Some, we say you from other world.  We know only this world.  Are people up there?”  She grabs my wrist tighter and lifts my hand upward so I understand what she means.  You tell, not lie to Tiegli, please.”

“No, not lie.  I will tell you but you must answer my question first.  About honour.”

“Everybody is enemy; someone is enemy of someone.  Women most dangerous enemies because men attracted to woman sex and lose fighting power.  So young boy must kill female as proof he free of female weakness.  Boy is given young girl – sometime older woman no good no more – to kill.  Rite of passage to be man.  Necessary or boy killed too.  They always must … hmmm… show power to hate and do by shouting and killing.  Also must kill enemy.   Boys go to great hunts in big desert” (I note she points to the south) “and where high mountains live.  After big desert and mountains there is green land of grass and short trees that make tent” (I cannot make her explain further – canopied tops of leaves that deflect water or sunlight?) “In that away far land they kill wild beasts or take wild black people for slaves if they find,” and she points to the only dark-skinned woman I’ve seen, a young woman whom they nickname “The Brute” sitting and rocking herself in a near-by cage.  “She harvested when very young.  They train, she good killer.  Dangerous.  Something wrong in head.”

She continues with her story and I try not to interrupt her. 

“Sometime, yes?  They make large group, many weapons (I gather she means armies) attack other group, city.  Much die in what called raids.  Sometime fight group join enemy group in wild celebration after battle.  Compounds full of females they raid to rape and kill and if “evil juice” is found men become like Warris (which she describes to be wild peoples of the south lands who practice cannibalism) and cook female bodies to eat. I, Tiegli, know.  Saw, smelled the flesh, even I get hungry from smell.  This I see when taken.” 

[end blog post #8]