Tag Archives: Relationships

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #74

It’s a simple, age-old choice.

One, I believe and I trust the High Priest to know better than I ever could. In his hands I die a sacrifice to the God as I have been in the habit of doing over and over.

Two, I walk to the Knight, kneel, accept the knighthood proffered. I take the weapons, walk past the altar into the room where the demon in black metal armour awaits my entrance. He is ready to fight me, dishonour me, kill and devour me along with all I have ever loved and cared for, living or dead.

That is the choice I have been moving towards since I evolved into ISSA consciousness. This choice determines whether I graduate, or remain in obedient subservience and servitude to a Higher Power.

I choose the weapons. I go to meet Warmo. It is time.

End blog post #73
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Begin blog post #74

I am given a light early meal and in another upset, I am dressed in a sleeveless short white cotton shift. Even my trainers give a slight bow of the head to me. I feel like sobbing out loud, this is such an emotional affair. I am overwhelmed and embarrassed by it all. The kitchen staff is allowed to come out and wave to me. The overseer comes over and touches my shoulder and whispers a typical T’Sing Tarleynan good luck saying that translates roughly as “keep the sun shining” and pats me on the head. I needed that little bit of ‘enlightenment’ to bring me back to ground level.

I thank the old overseer from the heart and let him see my face covered in grateful tears while I smile openly, freely. I silently wish them all well.

‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, all of you wonderful people who are demonstrating your real humanity today. I bless you all…’

But their inane law prevents me from saying the words to them aloud. So I carry them in my heart, for now. And in my mind I plant them in the soil of this place, under the paving stones. In time, perhaps they will emerge and fill all the cracks in these structures.

And I’m led into the arena to meet my arch rival, my nemesis who has hounded me through so many lives and given me so many nightmares. Yet were it not for him I would never have found my way here, to this transition point.

When the crowd sees the female fighter in the white dress come forth to the armour and weapons table, they fall into dead silence. This has never been seen. Of course there is no riff-raff in this crowd, the prices of admission being astronomical. This is the day for the aristocracy to enjoy itself. Still, the silence prior to any fight is unnerving. I strip my dress off, stand naked as per protocol, do a few bending exercises to demonstrate my fitness and with some help, don my armour for the first fight involving the staff.

I have studiously avoided looking in Warmo’s direction. I want to use my so-called sixth sense and feel his presence rather than study him with my physical senses. It’s his mind/heart I must penetrate and remain vigilant over. To him I must project, send, nothing but white noise. I must block any thought aimed at me while attempting to read his. Remains to be seen how much of an adept he is at this game. Concentrate, focus, collect, withdraw, analyze, discard and repeat until nothing of value can be gained from the exercise.

An eternity and the centering trumpet sounds. I walk to the center, still looking down, not at him. I sense a slight discomfort from him. He is probing me with his eyes, ears and nose. To a much lesser extent I feel his mind probe but it is weak. I lift my head just enough to see his weapon and the arc it’s going to describe on the very first swing. I turn to the King’s dais and although I cannot see him, I know he’s watching his holo and has me on close-up. I salute with my staff held high at a slight upward tilt and bow. Then I wait without fear or tremor for the second trumpet.

As soon as it sounds I literally jump out of my trance and begin the dance with him. I already knew he would swing left and I parry, jumping back, not yet engaging my bionic ankle. I must ‘study’ his moves for he knows much more of mine than I of his. And I take careful note of the long sword in the scabbard on his back. I try to see if it is lashed with thongs I could cut with the cutting point of the staff – very unlikely.

I keep moving back, back, drawing him to me as a magnet draws steel. I move in and out of trance, sometimes seeing an SS guard, complete with the dreaded insignia on the coat – he knows of my ancient morbid fear of men in police or military uniforms. Sometimes I see a Melkiar robot in gleaming black metallic armour and the staff becomes a death tube. Sometimes it’s a giant demon from hell, his black carapace smoking and his eyes red laser beams. Then I see a human being desperate to escape the mould his vices have locked him into for eternity or until his Valkyrie, his Avenging Angel of Death and Ultimate Mercy kills him and pulls his soul from it. I see an evil black hooded Darth Vader from an Old Earth flatvid sci-fi production coming at me with a red light stick.

End blog post #74

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #73

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
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Begin blog post #73

Chapter 32 – The Fight of the Beasts – Part One

The evening before the fight gives us a clear sky with glowing red clouds in a fiery sunset.  The setting sun sends off rays all the way to the meridian above the keep.  It is beautiful.  I ask my handlers if I can just stand for a while and watch the patterns in the sky, alone.  To my surprise they acquiesce to my request and two of them stand almost respectfully at some distance behind me, also staring into the beauty spread so lavishly above us.  Suddenly they both approach me and hold my arms gently.  One of them puts his hand under my chin as I instinctively bow my head in submission and makes me look into his face.  He pulls me slowly to himself and kisses me, as he’s undoubtedly seen women do with each other many times. 

This too is another of those massive breakthroughs. 

The other looks perplexed by his partner’s move, then tries it also.  I kiss him back warmly and gently.  I move my hand to his penis and it is fully erect, hard in my hand.  I fondle him.  He understands now at least one of the uses of kissing.  To him it had always been nothing more than some kind of stupid display of female emotion and weakness. 

Both of them take me around the back of the weapons cases and make love to me.  Yes, they actually make love.  They allow me to play them and arouse them fully before they come.  It is pleasant; it is good; it is like giving the finger to that terrible Force that my “high” sense keeps telling me uses the artificial world of Albaral to poison the men’s minds against women on this world.  No it’s even better than that.  It’s an awakening for the three of us. A bonding that can never be reversed.

They walk me back slowly to the cages.  Tiki is standing, a bit worried I think, maybe jealous.  I take her in my arms and for a long time after the gate has closed and the handlers have walked away we hold and caress each other.  I see many faces turned to me, to us.  On those faces closest to me I see smiles – smiles!  I smile back at them then Tiki and I slip down together into the straw and soon fall asleep.  Another dreamless, innocent sleep that ends with the morning call.  I awaken from a great distance and immediately realize what day this is.

It has been said that ‘only the dead do not know fear’ but if that is true then I must surely be dead.  I do not feel fear.  I feel as a bride on her wedding day.  This is when it comes together for me. 

So many paths, so many twists, turns, dead ends.  But this path has been the most trying.  For years I struggled on it and the thorns, thistles, broken branches and fallen trees kept blocking my advance, tripping me, crushing my bones and making me bleed.  For some days now I’ve stopped struggling and now the path is clear. 

Ahead, in a clear bright light I see one single set of stairs and two altars.  The one on the left is covered with a pure white linen cloth on which the sacrificial victim must lie to be offered in death to the god.  Beside it stands the high priest with the sacrificial knife to cut the victim’s heart out.  Yes, I remember that part.

On the other is a wonderful set of deadly blades and a knight with a golden sword half drawn waiting to knight me and hand me the blades. 

It’s a simple, age-old choice. 

One, I believe and I trust the High Priest to know better than I ever could.  In his hands I die a sacrifice to the God as I have been in the habit of doing over and over. 

Two, I walk to the Knight, kneel, accept the knighthood proffered.  I take the weapons, walk past the altar into the room where the demon in black metal armour awaits my entrance.  He is ready to fight me, dishonour me, kill and devour me along with all I have ever loved and cared for, living or dead.

That is the choice I have been moving towards since I evolved into ISSA consciousness.  This choice determines whether I graduate, or remain in obedient subservience and servitude to a Higher Power.

I choose the weapons.  I go to meet Warmo.  It is time.

End blog post #73

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #71

Thus I close my thoughts and slip into gentle, dreamless sleep.  I have finally found a moment of peace on Malefactus, thanks to these two extremes: the Warmo on one end of the see-saw, I on the other end, and Tiki and all the women of Malefactus as fulcrum in the middle. 

End blog post #70
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Begin blog post #71

Chapter 31 – The Forever Change

It’s the last week before the great fight of the century as it is being billed and advertised.  The fight of the Beasts.  There is excitement in the air of Hyrete and it trickles into our compound.  I can’t help but notice a change of attitude toward me by most of the men.  I am being treated as a human being.  The trainers, usually the slobs, the lowliest of male types in the compounds, are asking me questions about my strategy; what I know of Warmo; and about my preference for weapons.

I’m no fool.  I know that many of those questions are motivated by greed.  They are paid informants for Warmo’s spies.  So I spend a great deal of time giving them elaborate dis-information on just about everything.  All they can know for sure is what they observe and even in that I have fun playing with their limited understanding.  I extol the virtues of this or that weapon, this or that move and demonstrate impossible moves.  I tell them, confidentially that I intend to attack Warmo right from the start of the fight to kill him instantly.  I hint I may have access to poison for my sole blades.  I brag that Warmo is a slug and won’t use the two-handed sword or battle axe because he thinks a woman can’t handle it properly and would make him look weak. 

I throw in some tall tales to confuse and amuse them so they lose their concentration.  I tell them I have a secret word that I am going to curse him with and he will go blind from light that I will make come out of my green eyes.  I watch them look at one-another and frown at my words.  This one to one exchange with a female is unexplored domain for them.  They simply don’t know how to talk to a female.  They only know to give orders and enforce absolute obedience and silence with curses and vicious punishment.

I carry on with my tale.  “I will re-grow my scales the night before the fight.  I will be twice as tall as I am now and I will make fire come out of my mouth.  I will fry Warmo in his armour and eat him.  When in the arena my people in the sky boat will fly over and drop poison on him and it will destroy his armour and his weapons.  I will make the evil in his heart turn to molten lava and he will burn and scream like a young girl being flogged.  I will re-awaken the ghosts of all the people he has tortured in his dungeons and they will come by and each take a piece of his poisonous flesh and eat it in front of his eyes…”

They laugh but it isn’t heartfelt.  There is a hollowness to their merriment.  I think they suspect that in part I have certain powers they have yet to see.  And they fear I may know about their prying into my secrets to sell to Warmo.  They fear that if I defeat him I may come after them.  This is a new and terrifying concept for these men.  Never before have they considered the possibility that a woman would not automatically fear men or be subservient.  Well, in a very real sense, I do have ‘powers’ they know nothing about.  I have bionic parts and I intend to make full and free use of them in this encounter.

I have been offered a second and newly arrived trainee if I want one.  I accept the gift and give her to an older woman who has been alone for two months since her mate was killed.  I am being given better food and beginning to put a little fat on my rib cage.  My hair has been attended to by one of the sex-slave trainee who, according to her story, is not here for any punishment incurred but simply because she brought her owners a higher price as a fighter than a sex-slave.  My hair looks passably good.  Not the girl’s fault, she is an impeccable hairdresser, but my hair is long past hope.  It is stiff and greying.  So she cut it quite short and I’ve adjusted my various helmets to match.  I leave nothing to chance or to the last day. 

I’ve been down to the forge many times, discussing weapons with the old pirate.  I’ve openly made love to him too, offering myself to him freely just to prove to them that an older woman can be very erotic and desirable.  He was convinced and I know he has done everything in his power to provide me with the best grade of steel for my blades.  All the blades have been re-forged and extensively tested.  There won’t be any flaws in my weapons. 

They have improved the sandals and as a precaution have designed a sand-proof mechanism that not only pushes the blade out and locks it, but that allows me to manually remove the blade from the sandal and use it as a knife in close combat.  They have also added another blade at the back of the sole, shorter but broader and deadly.  That one could be my last resort weapon.  I won’t use it in training but already I know exactly what use I’ll make of it, if given the chance.       

When I mention the name of Warmo in the forge, most of the men spit on the floor.  And they have put all the money they could muster on me to win.  Well, I take that as being at least as good as a dozen roses and a “good luck” card!  I don’t feel like a fighter going into the arena to fight to the death.  Rather I feel like an actress going to receive an award for best role.  I’m careful to keep my mind in that light and shallow place until this fight is over.  I’m a fighter!  I’m not a spiritual being, not a philosopher, not a logician, not an avatar.  I’m a fighting machine with a purpose: to kill its opponent.  I’m riding high, higher than at any other time in my years on Malefactus.  And I intend to remain in this space, whatever happens in the meantime.

Since I received my implants I haven’t used the stim but I know it’s still available.  I use Tiki to speak to the Cydroid in the kitchens and between them they manage to smuggle some to me.  Tiki has never heard of this concoction but the sex-slave who did my hair somehow finds out I have some.  She begs and begs me to share it with her.  An addict!  So she lied about the reason she was demoted to fighter.  Instead of killing her outright they sold her for what money the now worthless creature could bring them.   

I warn her this is a fighter training place and I can have her flogged to death if she importunes me this way.  I lie to her and explain it’s false stim.  Just an energy cube that looks like stim but is made from fruit gel.  She lifts her nose and smells in an animal sort of way and I almost expect her to snort loudly.  Matter-of-fact and coarsely she says in an ugly low voice full of hate, “Fuck you lying bitch.  You have stim, you share.”

Well, that cannot be allowed to pass, nor can I report her to the handlers or she will spill the beans, start an all-out investigation and search for other possible illegal substances in our sleeping compounds.  The results could be disastrous for our simple lifestyle and our shaky but deep relationships.  Plus the extra work of forking all the straw out of the cages for inspection or burning in the yard, then the possibility for all of us to being left to sleep naked on the paving stones without straw for who knows how long until the point is made.

I make Tiki return the stim cube I’d hidden in my hair to the Cydroid and silently enroll some fighters to deal with the new slave.  She is taken to the wash troughs and I call to the overseer that I suspect she has lice and must be given a thorough washing.  He laughs and says, “Give it to her before we deal with her ourselves, that krosspeeg.”

She gets a thorough washing, complete with soap in the mouth and other very unpleasant treatments involving bodily cavities.  Then a quiet but deadly talking-to that sobers her up.  When she realizes no one in the compound will side with her and all agree she is a liar and trouble maker, she remains silent and paler even than her normally white skin would show.  She is taken to the flogging pole and a full description of our last witnessed death flogging is given to her by some of the fighters.  That brings her down a few more notches. 

Finally the meanest looking, most scarred fighter in the compound takes her by the neck and shaking her says, “Me they call Girl-Flesh Eater.  Hate sex-slave pampered little fucking teela krosspeeg like you.  Soon day come I permitted to eat one again.  I eat you, yessss!  Two, maybe three day from today.  Tender, juicy.  I like.  I make kitchen prepare you good, medium rare, make me strong to fight.  Maybe you good for something then, uh-uh!”  She extends her hand and squeezes the girl’s face until her eyes are almost popping out, probably more from raw fear than the squeeze.  I swear that grip would have frightened even me, if temporarily. 

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

 

Antierra Manifesto-Blog post #70

(from blog post #69…)
I have resolved this moral question in my mind thus.  If I perform an evil act against another to prevent a greater evil, that is acceptable providing such an act, if successful, does not in any way benefit me personally.  Ideally such an act would bring about the desired effect while I, like the Phoenix, would be sacrificed in its fiery wake.  It is important to understand this when faced with all such moral dilemmas.  If I survive the ‘doing right by wrong’ act, I must atone for my part in it.  If it benefits me, I must divest myself entirely of any and all such gain. 

Having reminded myself of this process in my mind, I continue explaining these difficult concepts.
End blog post #69
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Begin blog post #70

“This I know Tiki.  I not do it to please me.  I not do it to hurt man.  I not do it to show me is better fighter.  I do it to teach.  I do it for all women.  I know, after I kill Warmo, I die soon.  Is my way to say I sorry for killing.  I not take pleasure of killing in my heart or mind when I leave.  I be free of all killing suffering.  And I be free of sorrow.”

“Sorrow mean pain, suffering?”

“No.  Sorrow mean you feel all pain and suffering other feel, not you.  You take to you what other feel, like Cholradil, only you do because you choose to do, not because your heart make you.  Sorrow is great secret power.  You know good feeling?  Pleasure?”

“Yes, like you give to me.  Good feeling.  I happy with you.”

“There is greater good than this feeling Tiki.  There is what great spirits call ‘joy.’  Is happy in all things, all time, no matter feel good or bad, still always happy.  Now I teach you something only great spirits know.  If you accept sorrow in heart, other suffering, other pain, take to you like hurt child, then when it settles down to nipple to suckle milk, it change.  It become joy to you, see?  Child change hurt to happy inside you.  No need for outside change.  This happen inside.  Joy always inside, never outside.”

“Huhmmm…?”  She taps my arm again, indicating she does not understand.

“I explain this way.  You outside in cold rain naked.  Feel bad.  Many other women outside in cold rain also.  All feel bad.  You say, ‘Tiki, you forget your feel bad, take all other feel bad from other people, put inside your heart to make all feel better.’  Now you feel terrible pain; now all the people pain inside Tiki heart.  Now you hold pain there, like baby in stomach.  Feel sorry for all the pain.  What happen is soon you feel warm, even in cold rain.  No longer is cold rain hurting Tiki.  Soon other people they not feel cold rain so much.  Tiki make miracle; take cold rain, change to better.  This called ‘compassion’ and this all great spirits have for healing all hurt and suffering.  So great spirits they not hurt or suffer but they have deep sorrow and this turn to joy in great spirit heart.  Secret power; greatest power in the All World.

“This power where I come from long, long ago; where also much suffering; we call true love.  Not many great spirits in worlds.  Not many understand.  Right name for true love is compassion.  You understand this?”

“Com – pash – shon.  True love.  I not feel sorry for Tiki, only for other have pain.  Have to be very strong woman to have com… pashon.  If all pain is because people do evil, still have compashon, still love people?  Still take people pain in heart to heal and find happy joy?”  

“Tiki very intelligent and understand.  That is how it supposed to work.  Yes, take very, very strong woman to do real love.  Not many strong people like that.  Not many are compassionate people.” 

“Compashonat?  Compashon is name thing; is have thing.  Compashonat is being thing, yes?” 

‘Amazing,’ I think to myself.

All the while we are talking low; while the storm is slowly abating and we are wrapped in the warm fresh straw and the warmth of our bodies I can visualize her eyes shining in the dark with each input of new information, each new idea, each new concept.  I can feel her surging with the anticipation that these teachings will change her life and her world.  It is as if I had introduced her to a new magic weapon to train on and take with her in the arena to defeat her opponents. 

In Tiki’s mind there is yet no place for personal defeat.  All she knows of life comes down to this:  being abused and hurt, fighting back, rolling with the punches, overcoming every odd by whatever means and rising to the surface to breathe fresh air.  Push her under and like a balloon she will surface between your arms, or somewhere else but she will surface. 

Yes, this one is the Gift.  Now a great part of my quest on T’Sing Tarleyn, land of man; T’Sing Taleya, land of woman; T’Sing Tallala, land of Freedom and Hope,  is accomplished.  I’m reaching the bottom of my personal ledger for my own fulfillment of promises. 

In the dark while Tiki slides off my body to lay beside me to cradle her head in the comfortable hollow of my shoulder and sleep, I bow silently and offer my own sacred prayer.  ‘To whomever may hear, or care, help me to not fail in my last steps.  Help me to climb that steep stone stairway where the priest waits with the ritual knife of holy sacrifice.  Let my offering be pure.’

The wind moans and a tear in the clouds reveals the wan light of Albaral for a brief moment.  Another portent?  A warning, yes.  A deadly warning.  Something, someone, knows of my intent for this world and for Earth and is doing everything it knows how to defeat me in my intent.  Ah well, I’m sure that on some etheric plane, as we battle for the souls of worlds, we are evenly matched.  As evenly matched as I with Warmo on this plane. 

Thus I close my thoughts and slip into gentle, dreamless sleep.  I have finally found a moment of peace on Malefactus, thanks to these two extremes: the Warmo on one end of the see-saw, I on the other end, and Tiki and all the women of Malefactus as fulcrum in the middle. 

End blog post #70

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #66

I don’t have to explain the Inquisition or Warmo to her. She gets as much as I could tell her from her contacts which she has naturally developed as she works the kitchens, the yard and the cages. By now everybody knows her and she has had many offers to leave me and share younger flesh in other cages. She could do it, if she wanted it badly enough. Yes, she belongs to me, in a sense, but she could “trade” herself for another, say an older trainee who wanted to ingratiate herself to me for special training. This old human trading for advantage, for favours, is found everywhere except in the most advanced and evolved worlds touching the top edge of ISSA consciousness. No matter where I’ve encountered this process, I’ve always found it particularly repugnant.

End blog post #65
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Begin blog post #66

To this moment Tiki chooses to remain in my care. Undoubtedly there are many advantages for her in this choice, not the least of which is added protection. Especially now. I could literally commit a crime and I would not be molested by the men – at least not until after the fight. Tiki is no fool. Plus I think she likes me, even loves me, in her own way. We speak of the fight.

Tiki afraid for me?” I ask her.

Ah yes. Little bit afraid. That man is monster. Bad man. He hurt you, I hate him. If he kill you, when I become fighter, I kill him. Better for him you kill him, yes. Better.” So much fire in her low throaty voice; so much strength. It is I who feels strengthened by her devotion.

I kill him, Tiki. I have to, not for me, for all of us. I have to make my weapon talk to him and tell him he be very wrong about women. I show him power of woman. Then you know I true. You know I can give that power to Tiki, my full power, before I too must die in arena. You understand?”

Those round pools of luminescent black, the sad eyes of the women of Malefactus, bore into mine. There is a trace of tears in them, unusual, for women fighters do not usually shed tears. “Yes.” She whispers and I feel her warm breath on my face as she exhales heavily. “I lose you soon. Always they kill old fighters. Like young ones better; like to look at us. Like to hurt us and make fun of clumsiness. I learn from you, Anti. I not be clumsy. I be old first time I fight and kill man.” She means she will be fully trained and experienced and will fight like an old professional fighter. She means she will dedicate her training life to being the best. Now it is coming from her. Now I can begin her training in earnest. Demonstrate her spirit and abilities to interest a powerful and rich owner who will keep her for the profits she will bring him. One who will provide her that little extra edge of protection every woman desperately longs for and needs here. That I must do before I ‘leave’ Malefactus.

During the hiatus before the main event I’m given much liberty and all the training time I desire. I have full access to the forge and I make sure I have all the possible weapons ready. I do not know what Warmo will choose. They say in his fighting days as a drook he was an adept at all of them plus he handled others we have never seen here in the compound. I know he is considered a criminal now but he has deep roots in this place. Connections. Plus much money is riding on this. This fight could be fixed, or a serious attempt could be made to fix it.

Could he, somehow, find a way to by-pass the rule of equal weapon and armour? Could he show up with a new type of weapon I’ve never seen, or trained on and be allowed to use it? I try to imagine what sort of hand to hand combat weapon he could design not in our arsenal. Perhaps a poisoned throwing knife hidden in a sleeve of his armour? That is the kind of trick I must expect. Tiny balls with poisoned spikes that can be thrown at bare flesh and do their work in minutes? Those razor sharp star weapons used by Ninja warriors on Old Earth? Does he know of those? I suspect he does.

Of course there is a rule against throwing sand or any other material into another’s face but in this fight everything will be reduced to technicalities. There will be lawyers on both sides arguing the fine points of their idiotic arena fighting laws for months, perhaps even years, if any infraction is committed, or deemed to have been committed. All I know is, I have to remain within the letter of the law if I hope to demonstrate our power on that day. For us to make any impression; to leave any kind of message that can be heard, we cannot resort to subterfuge or cheating, even if we could get away with it.

And I cannot delay it any longer. I must speed up my Teaching.

End blog post #66

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #59

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

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

[end blog post #58]
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[begin blog post #59]

“You do this for me, not you????”  She shakes her head from the novelty of the idea, that someone would deliberately sacrifice herself to help others when there is possibly an easier way out.  This is a thoroughly alien concept.  I must proceed carefully.

“You know love?”  I ask for a reaction.

“Love!” she snorts and looks at me.  “I know love.  Bad thing.  Men, they love me many times.  They love girls, hurt them, kill them.  They say it making love, it good for us.  They lie.  It no good.  Only with you it good.  Different love with you; nice, warm, good.  I like love with you.” 

I am thankful for the darkness and that she isn’t Cholradil because my tears are flowing freely and I cannot speak for some time.  I wipe my face with the back of my arm.  These little characters are so simple, remain so candid even through their nightmare lives.  It’s like living in a black and white cartoon world trying to hold the little creatures together and reshaping them with a pencil and an eraser.  Matter of fact; good or bad.  No shades in-between.   I want to drop into her space, hug her… fall in love with her… and give her my heart. 

Put a check on that right now, woman.  Remember she is one of millions, perhaps billions.  You cannot help her unless you help all of them with equal power and abandon.  Can you do that?

“Love with friend is good, yes.  But when friend gone, what you do Tiki?”

“I know.  I have friend before here.  She good with me.  She have accident, die.  I know love then.  It mean very sad.  Much pain here.”  She puts my hand to her heart.

“So even with friend, lover, love still mean pain?”

“Yes.  Sometime lover taken away, or leave to go with other woman.  Then you all alone and very sad.  Hurt much.  Angry too.  Want to kill other woman.  I see this here.  Love, even good love, big trouble.  If you go now, I hurt much.  I sad and angry, I know.”

“Listen Tiki.  There is love that give no hurt, no pain.  Even if all gone, all lost, still no pain.  Just good love.  Always good love.”

She sits up then and looks into my face, notices the remaining traces of tears.  Touches them and licks the salty liquid.  “You hurt?  I hurt you?”  She is incredulous and afraid.

“No, not you.  I hurt me.  Inside, I be many people, in my heart, in my head.  Many people from many places, stars, times.  Now and long ago.  I different.  Not from this world Tiki.  We feel things.  Know things.  Often cry great sadness for what hurt people everywhere.”

“Other places?  Other worlds?  Many people inside you? Women they say you Desert Beast.  Is true this?”

“What do you know of this Desert Beast, Tiki?”

“Only what guardians say when I little.  They sing sad song in my ear.  Song of long ago before Man take this place.  Woman free then.  Have place to live, children have mother.  Run free outside, run in rain, in grass, swim in river and big water.  The man, he my handler when I be little.  He say there be bird in sky, many many, beautiful white bird.  Bird, it laugh, it very happy, like children, girls, they happy then too and laugh.  He say in song this place protected by Great Desert Beast, she mother of all children of world.

“He say Desert Beast, she very tall and she have green scales over body.  Green hair, green eyes.  Like you have green eyes too.  She fly in sky boat that make thunder and it have fire like sun to push.  Very strong boat that fly even in night sky.  See everything.  He say other Beasts like her come with her in other boats.  Talk to the people and give gifts, beautiful things, make things grow and build houses and make life happy.  It is good, he say, but one day another very dark, very big sky boat come.  It kill the people, take girls away.  In sky there is terrible battle and Great Desert Beast boat go down into ground, into desert sand with big ball of fire.  He say no one see again.  Only big black boat sail off, go away far. 

“The man he say the black sky boat have home like this one and all females put in cages there.  Much sorrow on world after.  Nothing same.  No one free.  Men crazy with anger and rage, kill women until black metal demons come out of sky boat to stop killing.  They have fire weapons, kill many men.  New law they give.  Women now slaves of men.  Woman speak, die.  Woman hit man, die.  Woman do anything displease man, die.  No more children for women.  Now we born from female, but not have mother, just strange people to care, teach, train.    

She stops as if to ponder what she just told me.  I can see her mind working, the deep frown on the pale skin of her forehead.  She blurts out angrily: “It just stupid sad story, mean nothing.  Old men talk, sad old cut men (she means eunuchs) telling stories.  I listen then, young and stupid, think maybe I believe.  Now no longer.  I strong.  This real.  I learn, I fight, I live.  I from this world. If other worlds like you say they not for me.” 

She continues with the same angry, disillusioned tone:  “Why you want to hear stupid story?  They call you Desert Beast for green eyes.  You come from desert, yes?  This they say.  But you no beast, just bigger woman, longer arm, legs, stronger.  You die too, like us, like all woman.  No different.  Same.  All same, always same.  I know.  It the way of it.”

[end blog post #59]

Antierra Manifesto -blog post #58

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

[end blog post #57]
______________________

[begin blog post #58]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You trust me, Tiki?”

She replies with a hoarse grunt.  “Huh?”

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

“Oh yes!  You say, I believe.”

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

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

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

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

[end blog post #58]