Category Archives: Torture

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #83

[Onward with the story, huh?]

“Well Antierra, we meet again my dear.  You certainly made a mess of yourself in that last fight.”

“It wasn’t exactly my idea, Bal.  I encountered something I had never successfully confronted before; something I knew well.  An ancient and deadly nemesis that had anticipated my coming here and had prepared itself to destroy me. It almost succeeded – twice.  The first time you saved me.  The second time, I took responsibility for myself and fought it out, as must we all sooner or later.  I wish I hadn’t let it get so strong and really challenged it sooner.  All those lives it persecuted me and I submitted to it thinking there was no better way.  And likely there wasn’t, not then, not yet: I wasn’t strong enough or focused.  I suppose this is the logical place where the outcome from such long-term hatred had to be determined and one of us consumed by it.”

End blog post #82
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Begin Blog post #83

Balomo holds my hand and looks at my scarred, beaten and old body.  There is no sexual desire in him now, hah!  I don’t mind.  I think I’ve known for some time that ‘sex’ was no longer on my agenda.  “You avatars see the world in strange ways.  I knew there was something utterly wrong and odd about Warmo but I would not have thought he was on par with your abilities.  Are there many like him or you who can travel through dimensions and through time to seek each other out to destroy each other’s spirit or mind?  With so much enmity?”

“As below, so above, Bal. Relative to the number of ISSA’s in the universe (or parallel worlds) we are very few.  But we do tend to make waves where we battle.  What happened with the motion for my execution?”

“Temporary reprieve.  Nothing settled.  The king, as you would expect, vetoed the motion but he cannot defeat it.  It will be re-introduced each week until accepted or defeated by a two-third majority vote of the Court.  If for, they will kill you, the method not described in the motion.  We suspect they may be planning to have you put in their next killing orgy.”

“Ah, such pleasant thoughts for me to entertain while I recuperate.  How much better than a State-sponsored parade in my honour for destroying the evil Wizard.  Seriously, how long have I been out of circulation this time?”

“Only five days so far.  You will have to return to the training and exercise yard within two days or the motion for your execution will automatically stand.  Seven days is the maximum any fighter can have as you know.  It’s their law.”

“Yes I know the law.  Seven days to return to active duty.  If the fighter is not fit by that time she is executed.  I’ll make it.  Any news from the compound?  How’s Tiki?  The Concubine twins?  The crazy young sex-slave addict, if you know whom I mean?”

“The kitchen Cydroids keep me informed.  I’m supposed to tell you that the slave you call Tiki has begun training and I hear good things.  She is fast and certainly determined, so say the handlers.  One of the twins as you call them has been killed.  Her ‘sister’ is borderline ‘dikfol’ from grief and has already fought two rounds single-handed against two-man teams, killing all four.  We need you to talk to her and maybe find her a match.  We think she wants to die but cannot end it as long as she can kill men.  The young addict, I regret to say, is dead.  She was strangled in the kitchens.  Two kitchen staffers were flogged to death for that worthless ‘pess.’  She was stealing chakr-laced fighter foods to use for favours and for herself.  Someone caught her.  We’ll never know who killed her.”

I take the weight of Bal’s news in my heart and hold it there.  I feel utterly dejected.  I cannot hold back my tears and turning away on the gurney, sob loudly and freely.  The lump in my throat could choke a horse.  So little change despite the sacrifices.  I know I shouldn’t have expectations but as anyone who goes through a war knows, it cannot be helped.  We always hope for change bringing in better things.  I need a better answer to it all but as this world is currently wired, it won’t allow me to find one.  Not directly anyway. 

I’ve defeated my personal nemesis.  Accomplished the impossible.  Remained alive through a series of miracles such as men not punishing me for flaunting their rules; surviving a fight to the death with an actual demon; manifesting events that got me access to an AI auto-med to put my body back into a semblance of a woman’s form and fighting fitness.  None of that brings me the comfort I long for.  Always thrown back to the beginning, it seems.

From now on, it must be small steps again.  I must train Tiki and continue the Teaching but before I can do that I must somehow cleanse myself of the accumulated grief and guilt for all the pain I have caused to other sentient beings while I’ve been here. 

A male Cydroid and Balomo stand beside my bed studiously avoiding looking in my direction.  They know I must work out my own sense of culpability; that any outside interference will only confuse me the more.  Finally I can look up again.

“I want you to sit up,” says Bal “and take XBA7’s hand.”

Without help I manage to sit, fight off a dizzy spell and take the Cydroid’s outstretched hand.  He helps me off the gurney and I stand shakily, feeling both cold and hot at the same time.  I turn and throw up, or try to.  There is nothing in my stomach and only bile drips from my lips.  I heave over and over until I begin to fall.  The Cydroid holds me by the waist from behind and I regain enough strength to finally stand unaided.  I’m handed a glass with a mouth rinse to clean myself.  Bal then hands me the flask with the pink nectar and I sip slowly.  Things come into focus. 

I look down at my body and by what I can see I am glad they have no mirrors here.  I must look like a one hundred year old skeleton!  Good!  Maybe I can just scare my challengers to death in my next encounters, hah!  I walk around the gurney, close enough to fall on it should my strength fail.  I manage, still feeling dangerously woozy.  I walk a little further, make a half-turn and stare at my prison. 

The sun is hitting the far north wall, painting a dull orange-yellow into the texture of the weathered stones above the shadows cast by spired turrets thrusting themselves into the afternoon sky from the red-brown tiled roofs of ponderous square structures whose purpose I’ve never bothered to enquire about. There’s another piece of crenellation missing up there.  Why aren’t they doing a better job of repairing their keep, their great city?  On occasion while walking from the training areas to the forge carrying the weapons needing attention I noticed large cracks in the masonry between the square stones.  Are they just letting the keep fall apart because modern weaponry makes the idea of a ‘fort’ redundant?  Or is their economy collapsing from the combination of rising costs from raising, training and maintaining of slaves and perhaps even more relevant, a growing debt due to gambling?  Or is the war with Estáan expanding and draining more from the battered economy of Elbre?

End blog post #83

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #81

(Another segment that’s long overdue but I have a list of excuses in case anyone wants to know what the frib I’m up to these days. It’s called work, as in real work, the somewhat remunerative kind which can’t be passed up. Let’s see, how would this go: “Sorry sir but I’m behind in my blogging so I won’t be coming to work today, maybe not til next week.” I’m sure they’d be not only understanding but fully supportive… 🙂 )
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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
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Begin Blog post #81

Chapter 34 – Aftermath – Fear – Petition for Execution

When I come to from the blood-loss induced faint I’m lying on the gurney at the entrance to the auto-medic.  A female Cydroid in a green body suit is working on my ribcage.  I’m in excruciating pain and there doesn’t seem to be any part of me that’s exempt.  I’m not connected to IV tubes but I feel a throbbing at the side of my head and a wire lead dangles out there, leading to a shunt on a console by the Cydroid.  I remember the temple wound.  Obviously some internal damage was done there.  I hope it isn’t serious enough to make me “dikfol.”

I open my mouth and manage what sounds like the croak of a raven, “Yoba Five?”

She stops her work to look me full in the eyes.  “Yes – I’m your doctor today.  Don’t try to move, please.  Here, sip on this.”  She hands me a pink liquid in a flask with a bent straw sticking out of a stopper.  I suck greedily on what tastes like nectar and feel a bit better. 

“Balomo is with our King.  Your success has caused great consternation among the male aristocracy.  There is a Court group that is petitioning for your immediate execution.  They fear the power that destroyed Warmo.  He was akin to a Gray Eminence, a mad Rasputin if you will – I get these images from your mind – who had much influence over the real King and many of his courtiers.  It is believed that only a greater demonic force could have killed Warmo, especially without weapons.  As you know, they don’t believe in greater ‘angelic’ forces on this world.  There is evil and more evil, that’s all.  By simple reasoning, that makes you a greater demon than Warmo in their eyes.

“You wonder at the reason they acquiesced to his demands to fight you bare handed?  It’s simple: he convinced them your power was in blades, not in flesh.  He said in flesh he would defeat you and by drinking your blood he would absorb the power you have over the females.  Then he would be able to put more fear of men in them.  By defeating him you caused the opposite to happen.  The males now fear that somehow you have empowered the females and they will openly rebel against their slavery as your story spreads, not just here in the compound but out into Elbre and beyond.  You must realize the crisis you have precipitated here.  It’s the first time males have had any fear of women, except for those brief and useless moments in the arena when they are being killed by one.”

Still in great pain and with difficulty I ask, “So what do I do now?”

“There is nothing you can do.  Your body is still a serious mess and needs repairs.  I’m preparing you for a second round in the auto-medic and hope we have enough time.  Your pardon or sentencing should be coming in the next three or four hours.”

“How long have I been out, then?”

Compared to mine, her voice is that of an angel.  “This is the day after your fight.  You were in the auto-medic all night and it’s now 9:39 in the morning.  Time for your second treatment now.”

“Please promise me that if I’m to be executed, you stop the treatment immediately.  I don’t want to be feeling better just to be tortured to death.”

“I understand.  You have a Cydroid’s mind patterning!  I have to bring you out if you are to be terminated.  You can’t be found in that!”  She points to the auto-med.  “In any case, know this, that you have accomplished much during your years here, and especially yesterday.  This world will never be the same. 

“Bal will alert me by caller if he is returning with guards to take you away as I cannot be seen.  I will release you from the auto-medic, wheel you in the front office and leave you there.  Bal will explain to them that he left you on the table because you had fainted and he didn’t think you would make it anyway.  In case we cannot speak again let me wish you a straight, guilt-free journey to your home you call Altaria.  I’d like to accompany you there.”

“Thank you Yoba Five.  However it goes, we shall meet again.”

“I’ve calculated the possibility in the high percentile.”  And she smiles her beautiful smile.  Bless you, Yoba Five. 

As she attaches the gurney to the retracting mechanism of the auto-med I slip inside the open “mouth” of the A-M and it irises shut on me.  The world disappears and I’m put in anaesthetized trance.  Many lights flash on the boards as I’m being re-adjusted.  Music plays softly in my ears and messages pass by like the voices of distant angelic messengers.  A veritable litany of the many things wrong with my biology the auto-med enumerates for the record as it probes my battered body. 

“Make a mistake, Medic.  Terminate me now.”  I whisper.

End blog post #81

The Weaver of Peace

[I have known for many years that I would never be an author, nor think of myself as a writer. Actually, I am a story teller, that’s in. The following is another tale of Al’Tara’s universal wanderings as the Avatar of Compassion. Al’Tara is my cosmic alter ego until such time as I “graduate” to that position, that is.   Sha’Tara]

The Weaver of Peace
{a short story, by   ~burning woman~  }

I had heard of a particular human person on a world we call Harmony. If I were to write it the way the locals say it, it would sound like a line of ZZZZZ’s… but never mind that. I was in the neighbourhood, so to speak, just a few hundred light years away and between assignments I decided to meet this human person.

I was quite unprepared for what I saw when I met “Alice” as I shall call her. She was perhaps twenty Earth years of age and certainly the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, if one stretches the word to the upper limits of its meaning.

I introduced myself as the avatar Al’Tara but she already knew of me and was pleased to meet me personally. In the grand scheme of things people like me do not have much free time so I asked Alice to tell me her story, explaining that what I’d heard left much to be desired.

I noticed (and felt) a great sadness emanating from her as she began.

“I was born one of those women to become a magnet for love and when I was fifteen I fell in love with a particular man. All men automatically “fell in love” with me but I managed to keep myself for that particular lover. Our attraction was beyond anything I could ever imagine. From the moment I met him, my heart only beat for him.

Then the unthinkable, in my way of thinking, happened: I discovered that he was cheating on me with a friend of mine. I went into a blind rage, then planned my revenge. Eventually I killed them both.”

“And what was your punishment?” I asked as innocently as possible, already knowing the answer.

“They didn’t punish me. The verdict from a judge and the families of those I killed was that I should live with my endless awareness of my guilt. They knew I had re-incarnated on their world from a past life on a world called Earth and they made allowances for my errant behaviour. ‘She hasn’t had time to lose the effects of her many lives on that world where her behaviour is considered normal. We must give her time to evolve to understand the two sides of love.’

“What did they mean by that, then?” I asked, again knowing the answer but eager to see if she understood.

“Love, and I understand this now, has two faces: one is jealous, the other is self-sacrificing.”

I saw tears pooling in her lovely dark eyes and flowing down her cheeks but made no comment on that. Instead I asked, “How old were you when you killed your lover?”

“I was seventeen then. I am twenty one now.”

“Your story has spread and when I heard it, I wanted to know how you have proceeded since that time, and how your understanding of love may have changed. You said it has a jealous face, which you’ve certainly experienced, and a self-sacrificing face. You say you understand this now, so what have you done to wear this self-sacrificing face?”

“I’ve made a decision that will give me that face. There is a primitive world recently discovered by the Supremacy that is ruled by what they call tribalism.  The people there are forever fighting feuds, duels and wars, committing genocides, enslaving each other and using women as war booty. It’s a free-for-all kind of place and if things continue as they are, it is believed that the inhabitants are going to destroy themselves. If they gain access to technology, the rate of attrition will rise exponentially.

“There has been discussions between representatives of the Supremacy and the more powerful war lords. They have an ancient law that if an individual gives himself up voluntarily and without any hesitation as a living sacrifice, the act, upon consummation, would force a hundred year truce. You know what my decision is don’t you, Avatar Al’Tara. I have decided to be their Weaver of Peace.”

“Please just call me Al’Tara, or Tara, we do not hold to titles. Yes, I understand that you wish to be this volunteer blood sacrifice to bring a hundred year peace to an entire world. Why do you feel this is for you?”

“Tara, you must know the weight of guilt I have been living under! Add to that, men still desire me and seek me, even knowing my story, and I cannot reciprocate. I’ve still only experienced but the one side of love. I need to complete my face. Consider also that I have so much to lose. I have physical beauty, youth and perfect health. Despite my horrible crime I am universally desired and lack for nothing. My sacrifice will be utter, complete.”

“Because these primitive War Lords, so-called, will not be able to barter for your sexual favours, and many of them will not want the truce you will be forcing upon them, they will pour their hate on you as their “Dedicated” and will insist that you suffer the pains of hell.  They will torture you in the most terrible ways before they allow you to die. You do know that?”

“Yes… yes, I do know that. It’s the price I must pay to earn the love this world has shown me and would give me if it could. I only need to move forward, neither fainting nor turning back.”

“You are a brave woman, Alice. Your commitment to your salutary purpose is honourable. Let me touch your mind and give you something to help you through your ordeal.”

“I wish for nothing. I was offered special surgery to deaden the pain but refused. I cannot accept.”

“This isn’t about deadening or lessening your pain; it’s to give you constancy and focus during your trial. What I give you will enhance your experience. Furthermore, if you ever dreamed of becoming an Avatar, I’m offering you a rare shortcut. I also offer to accompany you and to be there to ease your mind and guide your spirit when you leave you body. I know no one is allowed to accompany you but I will be invisible to all but you. I will stay with you and touch you but without distracting you from your purpose. Accept?”

“Oh, Tara! Now I know I can do this. Thank you.”

PS: I wanted to add a YouTube link to Kate Price’s “Weaver of Peace” which is my favourite Kate Price ballad. I couldn’t find any YouTube links for Kate Price, but here’s the link to the lyrics:

http://www.songlyrics.com/kate-price/peaceweaver-lyrics/

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.)
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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
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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…)
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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
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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

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #76

While I draw him after me again I marvel at the design and temper of those short blades in the sandals. It penetrated cheelth as if it was paper and I’d be willing to bet there is hardly any dulling of the cutting edges. Way to go Master Smith, I love you!

End blog post #75
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Begin blog post #76

Chapter 33 – The Fight of the Beasts – Part Two

Three hours into the fight, according to the great wall chrono and finally the trumpet calls the time out for cooling down, drink, weapons switch entailing armour replacements and patch up work on the cuts if needed. My handlers bring a first aid kit, help me remove all my armour since the next fight has to be with the rapier and dagger requiring we do it naked. Using sterilized and anaesthetized fibresteel staples they patch my cut and apply morphing tape on it. I bite on the handle of my rapier to absorb the pain. I nod I am OK to proceed and adjust my sandals.

Since I ‘invented’ the sandals we have been permitted to wear them in combat even when the rules demanded we be naked. Foot wear is not considered part of one’s apparel. Like so many other rules pertaining to the treatment of fighters, rape, and procedural matters of fighting, it would be a complete waste of time to wade through them looking for either common sense or consistency of enforcement. This world is choking on legalistic legalism. They make laws to interpret laws, laws to enforce laws, laws to render existing laws unenforceable. And yet bottom line is, all law breaking is considered a crime, all crimes are a capital offence. What was it that I learned during my days with the Supremacy forces? That when a thing becomes all, it becomes nothing? Absolutism destroys the very thing it would become… or claims to be.

As I prepare my mind for round two, I recall my Teaching to the women in the compound a few days ago. I wonder if they are doing the prayer I taught them. I sense they are. And I look into the sky above for the circling vultures. Hmmm, yes the are still there. Well, I did not say it would happen today, did I. What I said was, it would be a long time before these scavengers are frightened away by the sky boat of the goddess Desert Beast in her green scale suit. A long time. A time to determine whether they chose to become self-empowered, or chose to forget and remain in their slavery. That choice I cannot make for them, only for myself. But perhaps I can help them make it. By example.

In actual fact, the only thing that will send the scavengers away is when they no longer find food outside the great Keep of Hyrete – when they are no longer being fed the bodies of fighters and other female victims of the Power that rules Malefactus.

I drink greedily and surreptitiously slip the stim cube out of a tight lock of hair above my left ear and slip it into my mouth, cutting into it and letting it take effect slowly. Amazing stuff but I can’t understand how anyone could become addicted to it. That sex-slave trainee must have been introduced to it in some bastardized form, with something else in it, added to it or injected in it. Chakr mix? Possible. Or some kind of subtle poison which would explain her insane outburst.

I am able to penetrate the Warmo’s mind block while he is pondering his next moves. In my mind I actually see the attendant inject the poison on the end of the dagger blade, wait a couple of seconds for it to gel and blister the steel, then slip the blade back into its closed scabbard. Subtle enough for the average person, but I’m using Avatari functions today. I’ve noticed that lately they have been returning to me incrementally. I never thought I could use them to actually fight with intent to kill someone. Much to learn, I have!

Strengthened by food, water, stim and the short rest, I slip on the belt that holds the dagger in its scabbard. I take the rapier in both hands, lift it high over my head pointing directly at the sun and perform a high flipping throw, letting the thin blade gleam and vibrate in the sunlight. I wait for the thin sword to return to me and grab its handle as it comes down, blade straight up. Again I lift it high, only this time as a salute. Then I flip it down, tip into the sand and bowing my head, I wait for the centering trumpet.

It seems an unusually long time in coming. The crowd is growing restless without its usual quota of cut flesh, spilled blood and screams from the dying. I wonder too – what’s the hold-up?

A judge in a bright red robe and hood thrown back comes striding into the ring, kicking sand with his bare feet and puffing. He’s carrying a gold circle in his hand meaning he has a priority message. He stops by a group of trainers and handlers who have assembled. He slips the ring up his arm, indicating he is speaking for the Courts and the Law. He points at me and explains something with arm and hand gestures. A handler shakes his head negatively and angrily. The judge points at him and does the hand across the throat sign. ‘Shut up or die!’

A trainer comes over to me. “You slave, take off sandals, now! Fight naked now, no shoe.” I unstrap my sandals and hand them to him. He rips them from my hands and throws them at the judge’s feet.

He yells at me, “Now krosspeeg, you listen. This fight special, different, understand. When challenger drops belt and weapon, you do same or you flogged by challenger, killed. When he ready, you fight – no weapons, understand? If he no weapons, you no weapons. You keep weapon, guards cut arm off with laser.” He says these words clearly so they carry into the crowd.

Then he comes closer to me and under guise of checking my weapons or belt he whispers: “Sorry to you, we must obey Law judge. Big change, big problem with the Warmo. Much evil done. Cannot help you. Must fight bare hands. Sorry you not trained. Much we need you win. You OK now?” I nod and would just love to hug him and assure him it’s all right.

The Warmo has taken off his boots and suddenly drops his belt and weapons. He stares at me and I cast a sidelong glance at his totally naked body and the way his toes curl in the sand. Powerful legs and forearms. Have to concentrate on those. Yes indeed, this is a switch. There has never been a weaponless fight has long as I’ve fought in this place. Only in the killing orgies have I seen people tear into each other with bare hands, or kick each other in the genitals or face. But those were free-for-alls and no one would dare intrude to bring order.

The trainer raises his voice again. “Understand now, krosspeeg? You animal, fight like animal. Beast fight with beast, no weapons.” To avoid punishment or worse, forfeit of the fight, I drop my rapier and dagger belt and the trainer grabs them and throws them at the judge’s feet also.

So what the Warmo let me see in his mind was a complete fabrication, a deception. I understand now what the Warmo is doing. First, by disarming me he’s preventing me from fulfilling my promise, should I win, to cut him down piece by piece and torture him to death. Second, if he gets close enough he will bite me, Vampire fashion and drink my blood to weaken me and strengthen himself. That taste of warm female blood is how he gets his power. I know that even my bionic wrists, which he must suspect I have somehow acquired, seeing as how he destroyed my original wrists on his infernal cross, and the small cube of stale stim I have ingested cannot prevail against what he plans for me.

However, like Samson recovering his strength as his hair regrows, my Avatari awareness has been returning to me. And the reason is, this battle is for the very soul of T’Sing Tarleyn, hence of Túat Har. On the etheric we are not human combatants but cosmic divinities fighting for the mind of an entire world. One of us wants to own them to devour them one by one; one of us came to redeem and to set free.

One of us is the Demon; the other the Avenging Angel.

End blog post #76

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
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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