Tag Archives: power

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #94

“I’d like to have friend #1334-02-28 if it pleases.”  He enters the numbers and motions me to head for the cages where the guards wait for further orders.  He walks to another hut and two handlers walk to the cages behind me.  I am let in to my space and soon the ‘transfers’ are done.  I move into Swala’s cage; Tieka is moved to Zel’s cage.

End blog post #93
_______________________

Begin blog post #94

What just happened here are the kinds of things that get you both loved and hated.  When people who have no power see others in similar circumstances apparently without real effort wielding external power, there is jealousy.  When such power brokerage benefits some, they will love you until you fail.  They never expect you to fail.  When you do they turn against you. 

So here’s my thought on the matter.  Methinks heroes should always die young, just after they have accomplished the one thing, whatever it was they set out to do and they should only set out to do one thing.  Then everybody is happy and there are, hopefully, no more expectations – unless they believe their hero is some sort of avatar.  Then the hero’s reputation will both rise and plummet as followers and detractors face off.  It’s foolish, it’s wasteful, it’s so human. 

The women in the cages will love me more than ever, that cannot be helped.  Friends of the overseer will hate me with a passion.  That cannot be helped either.  In the end I will fail those who love me and give satisfaction to those who hate me.  I will die a violent death.  The ones will feel abandoned, the others vindicated.  So I have learned.  So it must be.  Unless I am wrong about this, as wrong as I’ve been about so many other things since I came here.  I wouldn’t mind being wrong in this case!

I turn to Swala.  She seems happy to be with me, but I must ask.  “You want me with you, Swala?”

“I be happy with you, yes Anti.  Always, I like you.  Copy fighting and training ways.  Listen to Teaching.  You tell stories from stars, I always listen.  I believe all from you.  Trust, I do.  I be friend with you.”

There is a quiet, sensible kind of gentler energy to be with an older woman.  Older by our standards.  Swala is twenty years old and has already survived many fights in the arena, few of them fair.  Strong, muscular, heavier than most fighters, she is a favourite for the gamblers and for that has paid a heavy price already.  She carries many scars and ugly welts on her back – result of some ‘unofficial’ flogging probably received in some drunken sex orgy.  Doesn’t matter.  I move against her and we begin to doze off together, nothing left to say that isn’t better left unsaid.  As with Tiegli, this is the closest thing to what the Cydroids would call mind touch. 

You wonder I did not say, “Deirdre”?  Ah but with her the mind touch was always cancelling out by our carnal feelings for one-another, our “need” of each other.  Every time we got close to the knowing it was like poking your finger in a mirror surface of a small pond.  Any reflected image there is broken up.  No, our mind touch, such as it was, could never be pure, no matter how good a thing I thought we had or I wanted to believe we had.  It was always spoiled by the ‘shattering’ energy of hormonal action.

It’s good to just be with a friend during the night.  Especially when your feelings won’t let you decide whether to be happy or sad with your situation.  I enter the Teaching: from sorrow, of which I have plenty here, comes joy, always.  I embrace that joy tonight.  Once embraced it more than suffices.  That’s the thing about joy, you know?  It is self-fulfilling.  If you experience joy in that moment it is impossible to know less or more of it.  It manifests only in completion.  That too is part of the Teaching.

Morning comes, clear, beautiful, clean.  The purple glory of early morning sky has faded, giving way to reveal a deep turquoise blue painted from battlement to roof to battlement across the top of the old keep.  This means no desert storm blowing sand in the sky.  It also means we should enjoy the morning freshness for the rest of the day will bring on oppressive heat.  After our meal we wash and begin our training ritual.  No fights scheduled for today since the fixed one was cancelled.  Our male trainers are less truculent than usual and I wonder if my judge friend has had a meeting with them and laid the law down.  That has happened at times in the past. 

As weapons master, even though the title must remain unofficial, I oversee the distribution of the weapons and how they are handled by each fighter even before they are used.  I insist on the ritual of awareness to be practiced by every trainee.  It took me years to have the male trainers and handlers turn a deaf ear to my exhortations to the women; to ignore the silence rule in this instance.  They are not so stupid they can’t see the results of my teaching on weapons handling.

Thus I address the women each time I am the unofficial overseer (nor do I address them in their pidgin but in proper language):

“Every weapon you hold becomes your friend and it seeks to accomplish three basic tasks: to protect and defend you and to defeat your enemy.  That is the energy it carries; the purpose for which it is made.  It knows this.  That is no different than how a fighter is bred and becomes a member of the female ‘fighter elite’ that you are.  As your bodies are bred for a specific purpose which allows you to fight men who are stronger and heavier than you and to defeat them time and again, so your weapons are ‘bred’ to defend and to attack.  You have no other purpose, neither have they.  So know your weapon well before every fight.  Handle it with pride and use it only with the best of skill you possess.  Never get sloppy with a weapon for if it loses respect for your grip, stance, methods, it will fail you.  It will not let you down if you do not let it down.  This is a great teaching that goes beyond weapons to everything in the land and the sky.  It is the teaching on balance of energies. 

You know of scales?”  They nod affirmatively.  “Good, when you see scales tip one way, you have two choices: either you step on the heavy side and cause the tipping to complete swiftly, or you jump on the lighter side and cause the balance to be restored.  The master must know beforehand which step to take then take it without hesitation.  This you must understand as fighters: whether to join the heavier force and cause it to fall, or oppose it and cause it to hold.”

This too I consider part of the Teaching.  Making the women aware that everything possesses its own spirit; its own force through awareness of purpose and surroundings.  That inanimate “objects” so-called have energy.  That energy fields, or forces, contain sentience causing them to hold together.  When we enter these forces or manipulate them we join with them and become a part of them.  This is life.

“As with human partners, if you have a special and precious weapon, say a sword that you treasure and with which you have won many battles, you do not, at the end of the fight, throw it in a pile with other weapons of various kinds to be handled or even taken by anyone.  I could tell you stories of very ancient times when knights (they were a special class of fighter) kept their swords in scabbards that were worth more than the sword itself, in terms of money.  They inlaid precious stones in the scabbards, the holding belts and even in the hilts of their blades.  It was their way of telling their sword friend how much they appreciated them.  And know this, that if the knight was ever in dire straights and became poor, he may sell his horse, his armour, the very scabbard and belt that held the sword, but he would never sell the sword.  If he could not carry it openly, he would find a place for it, wrap it carefully in oiled rags and hide it with the hope that in better days, or at great need, he would find it again.  Thus many old swords were found again by new fighters and new tales of heroes born from difficult times.

“Now hold your weapons high and salute life.  Salute victory.  Salute the goddess who slowly awakens to you as you awaken to her.  Our days are coming, as surely as the seasons change.  Hail to the weapons!”

Each time we go through this ritual the women barely restrain themselves from cheering.  These are the moments that inexorably change the face of Malefactus. 

End blog post #94

THE SWORD OF ALTARÏE

[thoughts of chivalry by Airin WilloWitch]

From the bowels of the Universe I was brought forth;
from the abode of those who carved the living stone
was I extracted from my ten billion year old bed.

Long before the story ever knew of sun or moon,
I travelled under the everlasting stars.
To the realms of the Great Elves I was taken;
there wrought, shaped and tempered.
There the blue flame of Altarïe was blended in my steel;
my hilt moulded of the purest gold.
No metal nor stone nor bone my edge could dull,
the hardest substances I absorbed unto myself.

Only the strongest grip could hold my hilt;
only the strongest shoulder could hold my weight;
only the strongest arm could wield my blade.

Where the great sword of Altarïe flashed,
the tide of battle swung and victory was gained:
did it matter to me who won? Who lost?
Many a nation has bowed to the conqueror
proudly holding his gauntleted hand upon my hilt;
raising my flashing blade before the charge.

Many a good man dead;
many a widow made;
many an innocent never saw the light of day
where my blade shimmered at the centre of the fray.

Many a city defended; many an attacker killed;
many an orphan protected and a virgin saved:
’tis not of me came evil or justice,
but of he who wielded my substance aloft.

Great cycles of years passed, kingdoms crushed
since sun and moon came to rule the earthen skies.
He casting his fiery light upon the high mountains,
filling the evening skies as with blood upon the seas.
She shyly staring at fields as covered with snow,
forever unsure of her place,
forever hiding only to return,
blushing pale under his fiery gaze.

I’ve known all the names
of man’s heroic sword wielders,
of Mesopotamia, of Greece,
Of Rome and the Kashmir;
of Arthur, of Roland, of Joan,
all came under my spell.

The last hero has fallen;
my light is extinguished.
I lie among rotting bones and crumbling mortar
yet always must I find my way out into the world

Though the great light of Altarïe may no longer shine,
for such hands as could strike fire in the likes of me
have long left this decaying and dying world,
here I do I remain.
More than a mere memory; potently waiting
for the heart that fills with desire;
the eyes that are sharp and far-seeing;
the self-empowered hands that grasp;
for the believer in chivalry
willing to challenge fate and change her world.

Hear me calling: I could be yours today.

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff – Part 9

To  go on with the story then…

While Nal was thus lost in her deep thoughts, yet not unaware of the world around her, morning came. The pink glow spreading softly across distant bare rounded hills promising another beautiful sunny day contrasted sharply with the retreating darkness of night in the west.

Lo woke up from his much needed sleep, got up and stretched in that feline way of his. He turned and greeted Nal. She stood up also and they walked to each other to hug and kiss. There was a groan from the sleeping roll and the girl Donna pushed herself out also. She looked around confused as her thoughts slowly came together but she could not remember the strange events that had brought her to this place.

“Do you know this place, Donna?” Asked Nal.

“No, I have no idea where we are. I’ve never been out of my village!”

“We think your village lies somewhere to the south. We saw a smoke haze in that direction yesterday and we thought maybe it was from the many wood burning fireplaces.”

“It could be, I don’t know. How did I get here? What am I doing here?”

Lo looked over at Nal and winked. He whispered, “Your ‘imparting of alternate realities’ may need some fine adjustments! She doesn’t remember anything at all of the vicissitudes of her ordeals and journey. You’re going to have to explain to her how she got here, huh? Make it nice.” His tone should have warned her he was being quasi-serious, too intent on enjoying her presence and the day to become serious, but she was still in her sombre mood. She replied:

“I will Lo. I will create a plausible scenario that will suit her situation, but only if I must. It may not be necessary to go back to yesterday.”

“I sense some sadness and deep seriousness about you this morning Nal. What happened during your watch?” He suspected he knew, but he wanted her to say it.

“Remember the other day when you made me see my own innate evil? I’ve been thinking about that. I am growing in all kinds of new ways, discovering powers of mind and body I had no idea could exist. Do you have any idea what an evil minded person could do with such powers?”

“Oh, I know that only too well, Nal and so will you very soon. Those two remaining Alay I told you about, the ones we are both training ourselves to meet and defeat, they are the embodiment of what you said. Empowered evil. They are probably the two most powerful evil entities alive on this world. But now is not the time to discuss this, we need to feed our friend here and get her back to her village. Priority one. And we need to develop a strategy to hunt down and kill her assailants. Priority two that cannot be avoided.”

While they were talking they had been aware that Donna had climbed down the rock and walked away to relieve herself, then down to the pool to drink and wash her hands and face, using the fine sand at the bottom as an abrasive cleanser. They noticed her looking about, searching among the spiky gorse and other weeds. She pulled out some roots, broke off the stems, washed them in the pool and brought them back.

“This is a kind of camphre, or camphor,” she told Nal who then translated for Lo. “and around our village most of these small laurel plants have been taken or destroyed by our sheep. I would like to make a small bundle and bring it back with me. In winter there are many uses for this healing plant.”

“Ask her how she knows the name of that plant, Nal, please?”

Nal asked. “A traveller from far places noticed me grinding my roots when he passed through our village. He said he noticed the strong scent and recognized it as belonging to a family of trees called laurels. He said he didn’t think such grew in our part of the world. So he taught me more of what the plant extract can do. Oh, I so want to be a healer! I have the gift for it but they won’t let me. If only I could escape that place, go somewhere else, somewhere they would let me be what I choose to be!”

They were all silent for a time while Lo pulled out their travelling rations and laid out breakfast, such as it would be. Then, after chewing on the dry bread and hard cheese, it was Nal who spoke first.

“Donna? There is no such place for us girls. Everywhere we go, men control us. They fear us because we know things about nature and life they cannot access in their brains, so they persecute us, keep us from education and knowledge. We cannot stand against such madness, we must flow with it somehow, like a snake through grass, moving silently, unseen, and striking only when it is a sure thing.”

“Oh! But the snake is the symbol of evil! How can you compare us to snakes?”

“But we are snakes, Donna. Men believe that about us. The snake symbol, the Devil that crawls on its belly, that is how they picture us. We crawl, powerless and they jump on us, mount us, use us to amuse and satisfy their sexual lust and to make children for them and to take care of them.

Angrily now: “We are seductresses, irredeemable. We have no soul. We are but slaves of men, always and forever. We can never be preachers, priests, teachers or healers or hold any political power for everything we touch turns to evil. It is totally our fault that there is evil in this world, you see? That is how men see us because that is how their “God” has labelled us from the beginning. I can read, Donna, because I was brought up to understand these great double standards of this patriarchal society – don’t worry about the big words, I’ll explain later – and if even in your village they knew this about me, I would be immediately branded a sorceress and tortured to death in an effort to eradicate that great evil from me. That is called superstition and it is deadly for us women.

“So we exist among these male dominated worlds as would snakes in the grasses. Feared, dreaded, hated, yet a necessary part of the whole process of life. They cannot exist without us and at times they lust after our bodies and claim to love us even. But make no mistake Donna: it is never love, it’s lust. But in our misery we want to believe them and we let our own feelings get twisted so we fall in love with them, our greatest enemies who will always remain so for we are helpless to change them.”

“They are all thus, Nal?”

“Exceptions prove the rule, Donna, always. Yes, it is better for you, and much safer, to always remember that even the boy you love dearly and hold in a naked embrace remains your deadliest enemy.

”Let me explain it to you this way. You are this beautiful nubile young girl living in a fortified village. You are in love with a swain and he’s in love with you, a wonderful boy you want to spend you life with. Flip to the next chapter: you are the same, in the same village but now the boy is not your lover, he’s part of a detachment of soldiers who have defeated your people and are overrunning you village. He comes upon you and you are taken as spoils of war. They strip you, mock you, gang rape you and otherwise abuse you. If they are not too rough you survive and heal. He takes you as his rightful slave and you become his servant. He can abuse you, beat you, and use you as entertainment for his soldier friends. Same boy, but from a different side of the fence. Instead of love, despair and hate.”

“If that is so then I wish never to marry. But how can I avoid it?”

Lo, who had been intently listening to Nal’s explanation and knowing she had seen such a thing, interrupted.

“If you lydies will excuse me, I’ve packed and it’s time to get on our journey. Please continue your discussion as we walk. I’ll bring up the rear again, and keep a lookout for any possible ambush or trap. We’ll follow that trail from the old cave we saw yesterday.”

Lo was careful to couch his language in words that would not raise questions, even though he was certain Donna could not understand him. He sensed there was much more to the girl than they realized as yet but would discover soon.

As they walked down the first hill heading for a low wood, and the trail proved easy to walk, Donna and Nal continued their discussion.

“If you would escape a forced marriage and a life of drudgery as I’m sure you’ve already observed of other women, then you must escape somehow, run away and make a life on your own.”

“How could I ever do that? The first men to find me would take me back for a ransom, or sell me as a slave, is that not so?”

“It is so, if you are trusting and unprotected. You need certain things for a successful escape. Self empowerment, my dear, and if you are good at seduction, which I think you can be, you can develop a friendship of love with a man who will actually think he loves you beyond just desire and will protect you as you both go on a journey of discovery. An older man, not too handsome whose chances with younger women are limited. Easily seduced and keener to the needs of women than the younger ones.”

“As you and Lo?” She wasn’t ridiculing or mocking but intent and innocent in her statement.

“Yes, though we are more than the exception that proves the rule. We have a vow of eternal love that cannot be broken by any known force. Do you believe that?”

“Yes I do. I have sensed it in you and in him when he slept beside me and held me last night. It was so gentle and clean, filled with trustworthiness. Do you think I could find my own Lo?”

“Every woman in love and feeling secure in her own relationship with a man would be quick to say, ‘of course you can’ but if it is true love you seek, know that such men are very rare and a woman needs all her skills of discernment and must ignore her feelings, to discover one. She needs all her powers of seduction to bring him into her field of love. Then she needs to be certain he knows, inside himself and without any prompting, that he remains free, ever free, while she loves him completely. That is the other side of love. We are the real givers, men are the takers even when they are convinced it’s the other way. It is a kind of faith; a belief system the seductive snake slithering silently through the grasses seeded by men learns to work with.”

“Your words sound strange to my ears, yet I thrill at them. I realize now that I do have to escape from Torglynn and make my own way in the world. That excites and frightens me.”

“How much do you know of fighting, Donna? Do you think you could develop what I call ‘the killer instinct’ when confronted by deadly enemies and if you were trained in sword, dagger and bow skills?”

“There have been times when I have felt a deep desire to know such skills, but then they interfered with my chosen purpose, that being to become a healer and I would get terribly confused.”

“What if I could teach you something totally alien to your upbringing, completely at odds with your religion and faith in your God, so dangerous that one whiff of it in your possession would immediately result in your condemnation as a witch to be burned alive at the stake? Would you want to know about such a terrible thing?”

“I believe you can do this for me but I have to think! I have to think…”

“Take your time. It is a very dangerous and difficult power to have at your disposal and I will tell you a truth: I only discovered it for myself early this morning, while I was on watch and deeply troubled also for you see, you and I are very similar creatures. Let me tell you a bit of my own story, that may help you in the decision you must make.

“My first and greatest desire is to be a healer, and that I am, as you are. But because of circumstances beyond my control, I had to become a fighter. I trained, endlessly and fiercely. I have killed men with this bow, this sword, this dagger, and this staff.”

Deliberately, she fingered each item, handing the dagger to Donna to hold and wonder at. Taking her precious bow out, she strung it and notched an arrow in it with such speed Donna saw a blur of movement where Nal’s hand was.

“I can bring down a falcon on the wing with this bow. I never miss and that has been a source of pride I’ve had to fight hard against many times. Everything has a price.”

“Many times it can be said that when I killed men or beasts it was in self defence, but equally, I have entered into games of sword play to the death. Obviously, since I’m here, the men, and much more rarely the women, who challenged me are dead, Donna. I killed them… for money.

“It was all about a young girl, alone in a patriarchal and violent world, learning to survive by challenging and using powers that were intent on subduing and enslaving her. I never thought about the wrong of it until Lo made me see that part of me some days ago. The revelation of this deep evil inside me was so hard I blocked it from my mind until last night.

“Then I let it surface so I could look at myself, and I saw two of me. But we weren’t enemies, just twins walking parallel paths that had different obstacles to overcome in each. At the end, the two paths would come together and the twins would merge into the real, the full, me. That is my hope at this time for I know without a doubt that I must be both, healer and killer and that one cannot be allowed to overcome or violate, the heart and purpose of the other. I am two people, Donna; two completely separate people who can never meet until their mutual quest is over.”

“Your story is sad, yet full of hope. It reminds me of a tale my governess was fond of telling. There was a prince, who was also a knight and he loved a princess but an evil bishop who was also a sorcerer desired the princess for himself. She spurned him and in anger he cursed her and her knight. At each sunrise, she turned into a hawk and at each sunset he turned into a wolf. Only in the moment of their changing could they get a despairing glimpse of one-another yet never able to touch or speak.

In the daytime, the heart-broken knight watched the beautiful hawk fly about. At night, the heart-broken princess walked the woods to listen to the wolf give his stricken howl. But in the end, after many trials, the spell was broken when the knight with the help of distraction caused by the frantic hawk, was finally able to confront the evil bishop and kill him. Then they were married and of course, lived happily ever after.

“In the end of your story, Nal, I see two such evil sorcerers to be destroyed and both of you must combine your forces to defeat them. Is that not what you made me see?”

“It is. What wisdom can you give me then, on my quest? How can the healer twin be of any help to the fighter one?”

“That is why you have paired up with Lo. Your healer self must join with the man Lo to protect him and heal him should he be wounded in your final battle. Knowing that Lo is safe, your fighter self will be free to do what she knows best to to, and that is to kill her enemies without qualms or regret. Thus empowered your battle is much more likely to turn in your favour. Three against two are pretty good odds.”

“You’re a very wise and perspicacious woman, Donna. That will take you far if you put your mind to it. I may as well admit right now that I am feeling a very strong bond developing between us. Maybe we can make something of that.”

For answer Donna sighed, then took stock of her surroundings as if she’d just awakened from a trance. The landscape way still much the same although there were more trees now and the air was warmer as they were crossing a low area where the wind didn’t penetrate except during violent storms, a rare occurrence in these parts. She could hear sounds she’d never heard; smelled scents of earth moving under the weak rays of the sun and of small animals scurrying among rocks and between shrubs hunting for food. Suddenly and for no reason, it seemed to Donna that the entire world was in a feverish quest to satisfy an insatiable hunger. Everything and everyone, it seemed, was chasing about and the bottom line of it, it was all about food.

“That is so strange.” She said this aloud and Lo who was closest to her at the moment, overheard.

“’Tis strange indeed,” he answered her in her own tongue, “this endless quest to satisfy some hunger. And t’isnt only for food ‘tis done, but for many other hungers, all equally insatiable. There’s hunger for things, for security, for love, for sex, for power, for control, for health (well, at least that one is understandable), recognition, either by fellowmen, or by some god, for conquest. But the basic hungers which all have in common are for food and sex.”

End of Part 9 – (Nine)