Tag Archives: Relationships

Antierra Manifesto-blog post #95

NOTE: I have been truly derelict in posting segments of the Manifesto this month. So much happening and so much to talk about, and one has to wonder, in retrospect, what all that talk accomplishes. But be that as it may be, I intend to be much more disciplined in posting the rest of this story. I’ll give it 3-4 days in between each post, no more. So here goes with blog post 95. I hope you can re-connect with what was going on. Thanks!]

“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
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Begin blog post #95

I am beginning to sense what the Teaching is accomplishing.  Without making any significant change to the external conditions of things here, since we do not have the power to do so, and if we attempted it the suffering would bring unimaginable terror upon us all, it is causing changes within.  It is making these helpless individuals aware there are some forms of power no amount of repression can take away.  Repression has its limits whereas personal power does not know the meaning of limit!  

What are Avatari Teachings but methods to make an individual mind aware of this power within itself?  They are that which defines us, as individual ISSA beings, and collectively as humans.  What the Melkiars attempted to do; what they may well be involved in doing here, the force of mind-life is always stronger, always survives and eventually always overcomes. The Teaching does not have to be pure, complete, ‘right’ or perfect.  It is a can opener, a ram, a hammer, a simple ice pick, a fly in the ointment; “un sabot dans l’engrenage,” anything that breaks the carapace of an oppressive force and drains it of power so life can express itself again, however much it may have changed in nature during the times of oppression.   What these women are feeling; what they want to cheer to, is the latent force that oppression has so tightly bottled inside their minds with the power of fear.  And this I now demonstrate for them.

Again, using a low voice pitched for us alone, I call their attention before we begin our training for the day.  “Now listen to this again and learn it, it is a powerful magic force hidden in words.  The following words change life:

I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.  I will face my fear. I will let it pass over me and through me. When it has gone, I will look with the inner eye at its passage and nothing will remain.  Only I will be standing there.”[1]

“I will continue to repeat those words to you as often as you need to hear them to learn, know and understand their meaning.  The way men control you here is through fear.  The way they are controlled is also through fear.  Men do not own the power they use.  It is given to them only to hurt us.  They fear if they stop hurting women they will lose that power.  So we all need to kill the fear that feeds the power.  That is much harder to do than fight in the arena.  Fear is our greatest challenger and we must all defeat it, leave it dead in the sand until there is no longer any blood flowing into that sand, understand? 

All the Teaching does is create the individual weapon a woman uses to kill fear.  When the fear is gone, the woman will experience no more suffering, even in pain.  Remember this, fighters of the goddess:  the fear you fight, it is not your fear.  It is your challenger; your enemy.  Fear is that which hurts you before you are actually hurt.  It seeks to kill you by disempowering you.  You defeat it by facing it and letting it pass through you so you can see what lies behind it; what it is hiding.  Always fear hides the power that can defeat it.  Fear drags its own defeat, always.  Let the first wave of hurt pass so you may see you have not been hurt.  Then the physical aspect of pain is of little consequence.”

I repeat the mantra for them, explaining the word ‘obliteration’ which they fail to grasp at first.  They are quick to understand because all of us know fear everyday.

“If we banish fear from our lives, who can hurt us before they hurt us?  Our disempowerment does not come from the physical mistreatment we must endure and eventually succumb to, but from our fear of such treatment; from the fear of what they can do to those we love.  Do you think they give us lovers because the care about us?  No!  They give us lovers so they can frighten us, cause us to snitch on one-another and do many servile things so our lover isn’t hurt.  Is that not so?”  There is much agreement and awakening to this truth. 

I have decided not to use their pidgin in some cases when applying the Teaching.  Force them to listen to new words and insert them in their vocabulary.  Add to their sense of self-esteem.  I know they hate sex-slaves because many have better education.  Perhaps if they feel they can speak as well, there will be less hate, greater acceptance?

It’s back to our training and the difference is palpable.  A victory of sorts was scored here today.  A victory over collective darkness.  Now back to some personal details involving promises of help.

I work my way to the one I nickname Zel, Huntu’s lover.  She knows I want to talk to her and switches position, still working her long sword without missing a beat.  Finally we face each other and I signal a pretend point jab where she scores a hit and gets to stand over me as I kneel on the stones.  I say to her,

“I call you ‘Zel’ so keep secret name.  You, Tieka, have plan yet?”

“No sir, cannot make.  Not know how.  Need to run away but many troubles.  Gates, doors, alarms.  Guards with guns.  With carriages.  What we do?”

“Nothing I know now.  Plan.  Think.  Think, not how to escape.  Think what you do when in desert far away.  No food.  No water.  No shelter from sand storm or hiding from evil eye.  No man to give drink, food, care.  How you survive, huh?  Think that.  Maybe other problems not so big, eh?  Think power, Zel.  Think love for man.  That be miracle already.  That already be escape from hate.  Understand?  Already I speak to Hudu and Huntu.  They thinking too.  Find escape plan.”

“Yes sir.  Understand.  Thank you.”  

The day does get oppressively hot again but no breaks are called.  We fight fiercely in sweat and dust, drinking tepid water to stay on our feet.  Guards, handlers and trainers drink cool home-made brew in the shade under awnings and ogle us.  Today they are not keen on taking the young ones to rape in their huts.  I see the overseer cabin is open and empty.  No one has replaced Achnarr yet.  I’m sure the judge I spoke to yesterday will see to it that the next overseer is a stickler for rules.  That will make the men tense and angry.  They will be more inclined to find fault and to carry out ‘official’ punishments.  It will be more difficult to curry favours with any of them.  Hudu and Huntu sit together at a small trainer table and watch Zel go through her routines.  I assume Tieka is working in the kitchens. 

I feel it before I can turn to look.  A woman has fallen down from heat stroke.  Fortunately for us, Hudu jumps quickly to be the one to investigate.  As he approaches, two women have revived the other and she is sitting, then with surreptitious help manages to stand, leaning on a staff she was quietly handed.  Hudu goes through the motion of warning us about slacking off. 

“Know rules: anyone falls, stays down, flogged.  Good for nothing goras!  Cannot stand little heat?  How stand fight in arena?  Lazy!  Lazy!  Now continue training, now!”  He yells but wants us to know his heart is not in it.  It does save the girl’s life though.  She recovers enough to walk to the water trough with two others who throw water on her and help her drink.  Then she goes back to the training, her partner taking care not to force her to move fast.  It’s ridiculous to keep us in the heat and cause heat stroke.  This doesn’t make us tougher or better at fighting, just weaker.  We need food and shade.  I signal for attention and motion for a general subtle slow down of movement to save our strength.  In the heat waves it’s unlikely the men will notice our subterfuge.

And that is the thing about becoming a real leader.  From the ordinary you make it appear as if you create the extraordinary.  You make ‘stuff’ happen because you care.  You forget yourself in the drama and crises around you and incarnate it all.  Of necessity.  You don’t resent any of it.  You just do it.  Sometimes I feel I’ve been graduated to that rather unenviable position. 

True to his word, judge Algomo rescheduled the fight and as he warned, he was unable to rescind the plan to have me fight two trained challengers.  The two men choose late afternoon to come and let me see their choice of weapon.  They deliberate, then ask a handler if they could watch me work with each one.  It’s late, I’m tired and the heat is beyond oppressive now.  Would I get a reprieve from the handlers?

“Slave, you show challenger skill in weapons.  Start with staff.”  So much for that.  A male trainer is assigned to be my sparring partner.  If I play dumb this time, I’ll get thrashed.  So I must ‘demonstrate’ my abilities on the poor trainer.  He’s good but not in league with bionic implants.  I lay the staff on him twice and he quits.  I guess they won’t choose the staff now.  Another trainer is sent forth for the sword routine.  The sweat is pouring off him and no wonder.  There he sat, through the heat of the day, drinking cooled beverages and in the shade while I was in the sun and by now my bony frame is practically dry of sweat, just covered with dust streaks.  I fear he’ll drop from heat stroke himself before I can lay a hand on him.

He takes his stance and does his best, I’ll grant him that.  A few well-chosen thrusts and while he parries one I lay into him and drop him with a hilt blow to the shoulder.  I put my foot on his belly and lift my sword.  It’s comical to see the look on their faces when I do that.  He cannot know I won’t follow through.  What if I’m dikfol?  There’s real terror there.  My challengers are frowning.  Good.  Got them a bit confused as to their choice.  I lift my foot from the trainer’s belly and help him up, patting him on the back as he turns to leave, adding insult to injury but this one had it coming.  He mistreats the young ones. 

The sword still lies on the stones.  In a moment of stupid bravado, I pick it up, walk within two meters of the challengers and offer either of them the sword.

Any other slave had done that she would have been instantly dragged to the flogging post by handlers.  But I know their thinking, and their limits.  They’ve got money riding on me and the more I intimidate the challengers, the greater the chance they’ll lose.  Also, I’m running out of time and they know this.  The day of their retribution will come.  I cannot win, according to their view.  I can never win.

The challengers at first look nonplussed by my offer.  Then they gather their thoughts and sneer, turning to the handlers and motioning for them to set me straight.  The handlers don’t care, just snort and laugh.  We have to settle it then.  I pull the sword back, turn submissively and return to the rack where I file both weapons and take out two axes.  I wait where I am supposed to stand, one axe in hand, the other’s pointed handle set in a crack between the pavers.  Finally another trainer reluctantly takes his position.  He has put on the required armour and looks as miserable as anyone can.  I remain naked, not having enough strength left to handle both the axe and the weight and friction heat of the cheelth skin.  In the last four years they haven’t had a trainer who could come even close to matching my strokes and they all know it.  I’m not worried on that score.  I recognize the trainer as he moves close to me before he picks up the axe to ask in low tones,

“Please no hurt, I not hate you.  Only do what must, see?  Make you look good, I do, then let me go?”

“I no hurt you Tarnat.  You good man.  We fight fake, I win, go back to shade.  Now loud, you curse me.  Look angry.  Fight crazy Desert Beast.  Be brave.”

Always the necessity to make those men look good in their peers’ eyes.  He curses me loudly, spits, yells ‘krosspeeg’ and attacks.  I take several steps back deliberately for our little play, parry each stroke, then go on the attack in turn.  Several swings, neither intended to connect fly around cleverly.  Finally he lays the side of his axe against my side.  I flinch and go to one knee.  He charges and I throw him off balance with a hook in his armour skirt, spinning him and laying him flat down.  I throw my right foot on his chest, raise my axe… then lower it.  I move off him and offer to help him up.  He refuses, stands up, throws the axe apparently in disgust and walks away.  There’s one relieved trainer.

I have to rack the weapons again.  I take the last in the acceptable series.  Rapier and dagger combination.  I put on my belt with the dagger and again I wait.  But the challengers have seen enough.  They choose the one weapon they have not seen me handle.  Perhaps they want to keep an illusion that in a two on one competition four blades to my two is a greater advantage.  I’ll grant them that: it is.  A wise choice, not so good for me.  I wonder if the Cedric is available tomorrow and if I have a date? 

That’s no way to think, girl.  You can beat those anal-retentive drooks.  After all, it is the drooks who more often than not refuse to acknowledge our superior speed and skill with any type of weapon cleared for use in the arena.  They are the ones who are the most likely to sneer when our skills are mentioned.  However many we kill, they keep coming.  And why not?  Over all they do kill more women than we get of them simply because in fixed fights, as most of their fights are,  they get the young or the weaker ones.  Some of these drooks take months to investigate a group of fighters and pick the ones they will fight.  Of course the law as written does not allow challengers to choose their fighters, only the Fighter Council judges can do that.  But then laws are made to be broken and law enforcers are equally made to be bought.  All a part of the game.  Had Achnarr been in charge the game would have gone much more in their favour and that’s what they had counted on.

You may wonder why they did not just back out of the event?  They can’t.  Once the bets begin to go in and are registered, no challenger can change his mind.  Since a fight depends entirely on the bets made on it, challengers are forced to declare their intentions long before the actual match is scheduled and set.  Bit of a catch-22 for the drooks.  But that does not help us much.  They know our weaknesses.  Mine is age.  That’s what they bet on, that I won’t be able to endure a sustained bout.  I shouldn’t be except for two things: my desire to see things to their end, and the amazing Cedric.

End blog post #95

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #93

“Wild” slaves such as myself, rarely found, even rarer they manage to survive the rapes and tortures suffered in the orgies, are branded by admission year plus a #-1, meaning number of ‘wilds’ and non-crèche raised.  These brands are usually found only on the black women captured beyond the desert.  For whatever reason, although they are physically taller, stronger and superior in weapons handling, the men of Malefactus have not seen fit to breed them.  Or perhaps they have and the breeding program failed.  They are moody and very dangerous.  They seem to be missing an essential element of the ‘normal’ ISSA mental make-up due to breeding or evolutionary branching.
End blog post #92
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Begin blog post #93

My first order of business is to contrive to have Tieka and the ‘Lover’ put in  the same cage.  Obvious – they must be able to plot together and must know each other’s abilities and weaknesses to a fault.  Also they must know if they like each other and if both be willing to die for their love.  Not such an easy task.  Glad I am I don’t have Tiki to worry about anymore.

“You!”  The overseer points at me.  “Come here.”  Oh-oh, what now.  I walk slowly with head bowed to his private table under the overhang.  He is chewing on some concoction that smells of onion.  Even for this malodorous place, he stinks.  Glad I am at the moment I am no longer sexually attractive or desirable.  I stand a meter from him, stop and wait, head still bowed.  A slave does not make eye contact with an overseer, at least not until he orders her to, then if she does not, he slaps her.  If she does, he slaps her.  It’s the no-win game they like to play.  This one is the worst kind we’ve ever had running the compound.  Not one redeeming quality have I ever observed in him.

“You ready now die old witch?  Tomorrow get two challengers, they fight you together.  They kill you sure this time.  I tired you be around, cause trouble with young slaves.” 

I know he’s the one who arranged for such an unfair fight, two men together against one woman.  The gambling once more will go against me.  What chance do I have to survive this?  Especially if the two men are pros.  It’s been many years since I’ve done two on one but after Warmo it’ll be either extremely easy or impossible.  Which do I choose?  No choice.  I’m still needed here with the women, as Yoba stated.  ‘I fight, I kill.’  It’s our mantra.  I say nothing in reply, wait.

“You I hate more than others, old bitch.  You ugly, disgusting krosspeeg.  You think you man killer, huh?  Maybe I kill you now.”  He pulls a dagger from a concealed sheath in his belt under the soft overhanging paunch of a stomach.  He points it in my direction, standing up slowly.  Instinctively I jump back and spread my legs, poised to ward the thrust and take him down to fall on his own knife.  He knows I can do it, and easily too.  He grins, his yellow teeth sticking over his lips – yeah, who’s ugly!  I think, ‘coward piece of shit.’

“They choose weapon already.  Maybe I tell you, maybe not, huh?”  Another violation of strict policy.  The challenger must choose his weapons in front of the fighter.

“Must need know for weapons judge.”  I reply simply, letting it hang there.  Just a hint of a threat which I know he gets.

“One choose staff.  Other axe.”  But that’s a total violation of any regulation, an impossible conundrum for the fighter.  Unless it’s two on two, they must use the same weapon.  How do I choose mine now?  Shithead.  I want to jump at him and crush his stinking face in my hands.  I feel the bionic circuits pulsing.  Fortunately a red-robed judge walks by and I importune him, taking a considerable chance.

“Please sir, there be problem with weapons choice for tomorrow.  I fight two men, same time.  They choose different weapon.  Which I choose?  Legal problem, cannot decide.”

The judge turns on the overseer in obvious anger.  “What’s that Achnarr?  How can two challengers choose different weapons on one fighter?  Who authorized this?”  What a pleasure it is to see the overseer go weak with fear.  Well, well, well.  This fight is a more than personal hate on Achnarr’s part.  It’s a put-up job, obviously, another assassination attempt on me, the winnings going to the overseer.  No one obviously has been advised of Achnarr’s illegal manipulations in his favour.  The judge’s face now matches his robe.

“Guards!”  Five burly black-suited guards come running from their barracks, laser guns drawn.  “Take this ‘dungut’ and lock it up.”  Indicating the overseer. 

“I, Algomo, authorize the arrest.  Charged with crime of fixing fights.  He’s been fixing the fights for himself.” 

I just manage to lock eyes with Achnarr as he’s being put in restraints.  ‘I want you now, Achnarr.  See you in the arena.  How brave will you feel there?’ 

The judge turns to me:  “You slave, you say nothing.  Tomorrow’s fight is cancelled until this is sorted out.  I know you can understand my speech, no need to pretend with me.  I know you well, Antierra.  I know you by name and reputation.  Doc Bal and I are friends.  Tomorrow I get the challengers to choose weapons properly in front of you.  Then we schedule this fight for next day if there is an opening for it.  Can you handle two very good challengers on your own?  I may not be able to change that part.”

“Yes sir, I can.  I fight, I kill.” 

“Good.  You may go to your quarters.  Do you have any requests at this moment regarding living arrangements?  Do you need a lover?  I hear you have given yours up to the ‘Concubine.’  You continue to amaze us Antierra, and maybe frighten us a little too, I don’t mind telling you.  So?  What do you need?”

“Ah, sir… you amaze me too.  I don’t know; slaves do not ask.”

“I give you an order then.  Tell me what you want done.”

“Slave #1336-14-09 would like trainee #1341-15-07 for lover.”  He lifts the heavy sleeve on the red robe and activates a Datacom.  He enters the numbers without asking me to repeat them.  Pretty good, I think.

“It will be done.  And you, I order you, ask.”

“Sir there be a matter of a corrupt judge who tried to have me assassinated during a training session.  The fighter to question in this matter is #1341-29-03” (See blog post #86)

“That will be done.”  He enters the numbers on his Datacom. 

“More on this matter, please.  If the judge is condemned to arena challenge I’d like for the fighter he implicated to be the one to fight him.  A just exchange, I believe.”

He stares at me for some moments, eyebrows raised.  “You have a sharp mind.  I think Balomo may be right about you.  You shouldn’t be here at all, but at the King’s palace and Council chambers making policy for this land.  What a waste of good material.  Sad.  Now tell me about your current living arrangements.  Would you like some change?”

“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

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #92

So yes, I’ve become a manipulator.  But in my heart I know I’m motivated by compassion, there being no hope here of personal gain.  It is not easy to give Tiki up.  She has been my companion for some years now and I have motherly feelings for her.  I’m sending her into a new life, a dangerous unknown.  It seems a truism that whenever you want to help others improve their lives you will suffer loss and pain.  This has been true for me in hundreds of remembered incarnations.  If I wanted to break that pattern I should certainly have avoided this little trip through the crushing labyrinthine pressures within the confines of Malefactus… and specifically within the stone walls of Hyrete.
End blog post #91


Begin blog post #92

Chapter 37 – Tiki’s First Arena Contest – Love Speaks

There was no scene when Tiki found out I’d let her go to be with the Concubine.  If anything it was a relief for her because she was under the impression I was angry at her.  She understood intuitively that my decision was for her benefit, not because I was angry.  She had grown up and needed a real partner and lover now, not a mother, which mostly I had been to her.  She had enough of the Teaching also to develop her own mindset regarding what is right and what is wrong.  There was time for that.  With the Concubine she would be able to hone her professional fighting sense.  She would be better matched with a peer and teach even as she learned more.  This venture should even them out a bit, taking the more dangerous edge from both of them.

She smiles more now and treats me as more of an equal.  This is good, although I worry about her still.  Especially today: it’s her first match and she’s already been taken from the cages to eat the traditional chakr-laden food of the fighter, alone.  Her opponent challenger I’m not too concerned about.  He is no professional fighter and to prove it, chose the obvious: the two-handed sword, thinking as is their wont that it would give him the advantage as a physically stronger male.  When he came to observe Tiki fight with the various weapons I made sure that she was doing it with me and demonstrated a very poor understanding of the long sword.  I made her look even worse by forcing it out of her hands and sending it flying, then tripping her with my sword pointed directly at her heart.  Even Tiki was fooled by the move and thought I was getting my revenge for that week-ago fighter trance idiocy.  I did not explain.  Just withdrew the sword and let her stand to retrieve her lost weapon, her face deeply flushed.

It was enough to convince the male challenger he had found her weakness and jump at the chance to choose the sword.  Well, it would be his last mistake, no doubt of that.

Two other fighters were prepared for the arena when we were let out of our cages to relieve ourselves, wash and eat, ready for the routine of training.  An hour or so later Tiki returned escorted by two handlers.  She was neither smiling nor scowling, just her usual plainly serious self.  I saw not one scratch on her as she drank, ate a light ‘lunch’ alone that all returning fighters not badly wounded earn.  After which she joined the training line-up, finding her partner.  Then she smiled – no, she beamed!  They certainly have something going those two and it’s good for as long as it lasts.

Near the end of our session I begin to inspect the cleaning and storing of the ‘weapons’ – I’ve instituted the unbreakable rule that all weapons, however poor, old or worn-out, be treated as if they were the best ever made and fresh from the forge.  I inspect them for dirt, blood, sweat.  Blades must shine with oil.  Handles must be clean.  If they show signs of handle wrapping unravelling they must be re-wound, tightened and knotted.  Only if tools are required for the repairs do I put them aside for kitchen staff to sew or forge to repair. 

While I’m doing this two young men approach me and make as if they want sex with me.  Surprised surely, but having no choice I follow them to an empty hut.  Once inside, one of the men, a trainer, puts his hand out and takes mine very gently. 

“I be Tieka man Hudu…” he begins with understandable hesitation.  The handler takes my other hand and says,

“I too be loving woman fighter and I friend of Hudu.  I be Huntu.  We be needing to escape from Hyrete soon.  Tieka no fight.  Say love stop her hurting man.  I afraid for Hudu and girl woman.  Need to help, maybe I too escape, take woman.  Go south, deep desert there, hide in storms from great eye.”

I shudder when he mentions the ‘great eye’ and ask, “What is great eye?”  He points into the sky,

“Albaral.  It sees.  It knows when things not right.  If people run, reports to Council.  When your lover escape, news come from Albaral.  No alarms given, yes, but they know.  They see something strange in desert, like fire shooting into sky – maybe sky boat.  We told by leader; cannot chase sky boat.  Need terrible storm to block great eye.  Not just cloud, need Desert Beast Fire in sky.”

I gather he means the kind of lightning generated by great sand storms.  Ah well, didn’t I know that about Albaral!  It is an observation post, an active satellite – but who really controls it?  No matter now.  I have to digest this new information and see how many more astral rabbits I can pull out of my hat and have hidden up my non-existent sleeves.

“You right to tell me.  But what I do?  I slave woman, old, tired.  Die soon maybe.  How I help?”

“Not know, we do.  But know you very wise.  Have many tricks.  Have friends.  You they say daughter of Great Desert Beast.  You they say is Teacher.  You they say will know.  We just ask.  We trust you as man.”

Well, that is quite an admission and confession.  The words, ‘We trust you as man’ coming from a man to a woman slave may not have been uttered on this world for hundreds of years.  Am I making an impression here?  No time to explore this further as I must return to the line-ups or we become suspicious.  I wave my hand, “I think.  Speak to trusting women.  Pray to goddess.  Find way, always we find way, friends of goddess.  What be Huntu woman name?”

Huntu replies, “I not know name.  She say secret woman name, for goddess only.  She be 1336-14-09.”

“Listen Huntu.  I call her ‘Zel’ so she has name to call, yes?”

“Zel is name, yes.  Thank you sir.”

Before we emerge I insist they make fun of me as if they’d had a good old time with the crone.  I look angry to convince handlers that I did not enjoy myself.  They are pleased at the cruelty and indicate so with lewd finger gestures at the two young men who must pretend they enjoyed themselves too.  While I eat I ponder my role in this new drama and certain crisis.  I can’t always go running to the doctor and Cydroids with every problem.  How do we, women, tackle this with any possibility of success if I do not involve my friends?  But what right do I have to compromise their work here?  None.  That I will not do.  If we are to ever succeed we must find it within ourselves.  If others choose to become involved later, that will be their choice.  Maybe I’m being stubborn; maybe, who knows, I’m becoming senile.  But I see much farther than I did when I came here.  Not so far that these people cannot share my vision, just farther than they yet realize they can see.

Well first I must identify the slave 1336-14-09 I call ‘Zel.’  She is three years older than Tiki (1339-32-19) so around eighteen to twenty.  A fighter in her prime.  Tieka is a thirteen year old kitchen gorok, just arrived this year in Hyrete.  Her brand would read, line one #1328-04 – born 1328, class 4 – bred fighter; line two 1341-15-07 for admission year, batch, number in batch. 

I better explain this strange record keeping of female slaves.  It’s quite simple actually.  The important brand dates refer to admission to Hyrete keep and batch numbers.  That is how females are auctioned off, not by birth date.  This could seem confusing to some.  Batch numbers are important to buyers as they are used to trace the crèche where the slave was raised and the kind of ‘product’ it is reputed to contain.  Every ‘batch’ comes from a particular crèche in Elbre and sometimes even beyond.  They are all official birth places. 

“Wild” slaves such as myself, rarely found, even rarer they manage to survive the rapes and tortures suffered in the orgies, are branded by admission year plus a #-1, meaning number of ‘wilds’ and non-crèche raised.  These brands are usually found only on the black women captured beyond the desert.  For whatever reason, although they are physically taller, stronger and superior in weapons handling, the men of Malefactus have not seen fit to breed them.  Or perhaps they have and the breeding program failed.  They are moody and very dangerous.  They seem to be missing an essential element of the ‘normal’ ISSA mental make-up due to breeding or evolutionary branching.

End blog post #92

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #91

(In which Tiki’s training demonstrates a flaw in the use of emotion when engaged in one-on-one to the death fight – or, when things are not what they appear to be.)


Always when I say thank you to these women they remain surprised, even shocked.  It is the word you use to men, not to women.  For someone to thank them means recognition of their humanity, equality, worth.  That simple word goes a long way anywhere it is used but never more so than here.
“Ready Tiki?”
“Yes.  I drink, I feel strong.  Ready.  More sword?”

End blog post #90
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Begin blog post #91

“Not today but tomorrow morning again.  The sword.”  I take it as she hands it to me to file – as trainer I’m also weapons master – and I pick the rapier and dagger combo.  I hand her the set to strap her belt on and I do the same.  We both test our weapons, stepping on the blade of the rapier and bending to find weaknesses, cracks or to test if the steel has lost its resilience and remains bent.  We check the daggers for bad edges or broken points.  These of course have all of those faults but this is the proper thing to do with new weapons before any fight and I insist the training includes every aspect of the official arena fight protocol.  In the arena, if a weapon shows defective and the weapons judge agrees it must be replaced with a new one.  A quick test can save your life.

We take our stances and begin.  You move much faster with the rapier.  It’s not meant to slash but only to stab.  It’s all body work, placing the body out of reach, parrying a thrust, jumping forward, backward, dancing, one arm out to maintain balance or to create a feint.  On Old Earth they called this ‘fencing’ though the term always amused me.  There is nothing amusing here, as these deadly blades keep thrusting at your naked flesh.  There is no place on the body you cannot stab.  All is fair game.  The extended arm, unlike in fencing, is there also to make that sudden grab for the dagger, in a killing move inside the challenger’s defence or to throw at a vulnerable spot to disable or kill.

Tiki has obviously trained on this set because her skills are superior to mine and her speed almost on par.  My bionic ankle allows me to take chances on balance which she cannot.  I can see her wondering how I do certain moves and trying to mimic them.  That’s what I want – to see her push herself beyond her set limits and discover new abilities.  Faster we move, parrying and stabbing with lightning strokes.  She scores on my thigh and I get her on the arm.  Gasping for breath and having drawn blood, I signal a break.  She pulls back and refuses to let me see she is tired and thirsty.  She holds the sword poised, ready to start again. 

I motion break again and gingerly put my sword down.  She jumps at me and if I hadn’t been expecting it and drawn my dagger to parry she would have had me in the heart.  I don’t think she would have gone through with the move this time, but in the arena nothing would have stopped her.  As it is I barely escape the thrust by sliding sideways and catching her just slightly off-balance, send her flying to the stones.  Then I pick up my rapier again to lunge but she’s already flying out of reach and ready to fight again.

Now she needs a serious lesson on obedience to a command.  I heft the rapier in my left hand, my dagger in the right and crossing them advance on her.  She attacks below the cross as I expected her to do.  Flipping the light dagger down and turning the rapier forward I trap her move and put the tip of my sword to her throat and push in just enough to draw blood.  She cannot move at all and does not know what to do.

“Drop your weapon, gora!” I order her in a deep throaty voice.  “Drop or die!”  She glares at me and drops it.  I pull back.  “Why did you not stop when I signal for break, Tiki?”

“I could finish fight.  I could kill challenger.  He drop sword.  I move in to finish…”

“You were caught in an evil fighter trance Tiki and I could have killed you.  You made a very big mistake.  Never do that again.  If there is a next time, you die for sure.  I won’t play these stupid games.  Death is always on the line and challengers never play games.” 

She lowers her face and holds her hands open and out to indicate her total acceptance and subservience.  “Yes master.  I very sorry.  Never, never do that again.  Too much into fight.  Trapped by desire to win.  Not play game.”

“You understand then.  Good.  I have news for you: arena fight next week.  Weapons choice made three days before the fight – you are very lucky to be given three days to train with chosen fight weapon.  You are a very lucky woman, understand?”     

This episode has strained our relationship somewhat and made me think.  Time for her to find another mate in the cages.  I approach the remaining “Concubine” – she calls herself ‘Satka’ and ask her if she would like to have another partner to train and fight with.  She looks at me with that strange look some women get when addicted to killing.  Dangerous, borderline dikfol even, but the kind I believe Tiki needs to associate with to learn the difference between her deadly inbred professional killer mind and that of an emotional killer. 

I ask as a favour to me, “Would you take my slave Tiki as your slave and partner?”

She makes a gesture and gives me a thin, crooked smile.  “Cannot refuse, Anti.  I take.  I watch her train.  She very good, hard fighter.  Together we kill men, many men.  I avenge my sister lover now, sure.  I take her.”  She hesitates then in a moment of daring, whispers to me,  “She come to me for night too?”

“Yes, No longer mine.  All for you.  Hope you and she good together.   Watch over each other.  Take care each other.  I not interfere in personal life of you and her, promise.  Yes?”

“Yes sir.  I do this.  I pleased; great gift to me.”  And for the first time since her arrival in Hyrete, Satka is smiling.   

So yes, I’ve become a manipulator.  But in my heart I know I’m motivated by compassion, there being no hope here of personal gain.  It is not easy to give Tiki up.  She has been my companion for some years now and I have motherly feelings for her.  I’m sending her into a new life, a dangerous unknown.  It seems a truism that whenever you want to help others improve their lives you will suffer loss and pain.  This has been true for me in hundreds of remembered incarnations.  If I wanted to break that pattern I should certainly have avoided this little trip through the crushing labyrinthine pressures within the confines of Malefactus… and specifically within the stone walls of Hyrete.

End blog post #91

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #90

In which Antierra plays the game of “plans within plans” and trains Tiki for her first arena fight.
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Now the truly difficult part: to detach from these momentous events so as not to get devastated if disaster strikes ‘tomorrow’ – if someone recants and sells out Tieka or if the lovers do something truly stupid.  Win, lose or draw, I must carry on.  Other equally weighty matters demand to be attended to.
End blog post #89
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Begin blog post #90

The storm has blown over.  The air is cooling and we return to our normal positions in our straw beds.  Tiki is already lying down sleeping as if she had not a care in the world.  And why should she carry any cares?  This is her world, her way of life, what she is bred for.  She has no other expectations but to be the best fighter to enter the arena.  I envy her… often.

The morning comes, fresh and clear.  We take our places at the wash troughs.  The water is cold now but it feels good washing off the sweat of the night.  We sit at the tables, following the established rule of rotation so no one gets used to a special place to get special treatment from kitchen staff.  I do not see Tiki at the tables but I know she is no longer kitchen hand.  I cannot identify Tieka in the daytime but I suspect she must be in the kitchens or one of the young ones passing out the bowls.  I’ll find out what she looks like today sometime.  It is imperative I know her better and also meet the ‘man’ in question.  The plans I’m formulating for them need very careful attention in the near future.

There’s the matter of the corrupt judge to attend to.  I send a message via a young trainee who has taken a liking to me, to the Cydroid in the kitchen.  Soon the trainee passes by again and whispers, while laying her head on my shoulder, ‘Goronda says she give friend information about red man.’  I thank her gently for the message… and for trusting me.  I know she is ecstatic from the recognition.  Old fighters carry much power among the young ones.  We are their only hope for possibility of a long life.  They emulate as well as take energy from us.

That set in motion, I locate Tiki and arrange to continue her training, today with the long sword.  We use old swords with rough and dulled edges but even so one can get badly cut or bruised by them.  It requires as much skill to avoid contact in training as in the arena.  We generally pull no punches here.  In fact the opposite is often true: that fighters see each other even more competitively than they see their arena challengers.  It is only the women’s equal skills that prevent more killings in training than in actual combat.  Also, trainers and handlers like to see us draw each other’s blood and sense the hate that can flow sometimes between sparring partners.  You play games here, it’s for keeps.

Tiki has no training on the long sword as yet.  So I begin from scratch.  I make her hold it steady, straight up to get the feel of its weight.  Straight out in front, holding it firmly with both hands to feel it’s gravitational pull.  To the side and above her head to feel how it can pull one off-balance, then ninety degrees straight down, point in a pavers crack to illustrate how easy it is to loose control of it for a short bodied person.  If you try to swing and did not notice the end is embedded in the sand or floor of the arena, you lose that move and your life.

I can see her frustration and try to ease the tension.  No pidgin from me now.  “It’s not hard Tiki.  Like the staff, make it a part of you.  An extension of your arms.  Know its length, weight and limits.  Remember your opponent has the same weapon so except for body length and strength he has no other advantage.”

“But those mean everything!  He reach me before I reach him.  How I do this with clumsy sword?”

“Not clumsy, just unfamiliar.  You are very smart and you are a bred fighter.  Think sword.  Your whole body is the sword.  Tiki is the sword.  Move with it, not against it.  Make love.  Don’t control, let it flow from your heart, your point of greatest desire.  Swing with your body, not just your arm.  Not just your sword.  OK, this way, look.”

I demonstrate the imaginary pivot point while the sword tip moves one way, I the other while holding it two-handed at arms’ length.  I can see the light come on in her face.  She smiles and repeats my move.  Brilliantly, better than mine.  Now we carry on and she improves by the minute until she is a blur of slashing, parrying, stabbing steel and white flesh never in the same place for a second.  Truly a work of art.  I have to admire her style.  I find her another partner to spar with and call a trainer’s attention.  He saunters over, gloating over the nude female bodies as he walks along, choosing which ones he’s going to enjoy later.

“What you want, gora?” 

“Please, I want you observe this one.”  I point to Tiki in full fighting mode with her long sword.  “I think this one very good.  Worth much.  Good bet on fight, even first.  Not lose fight for long, long time.  Natural fighter.  Good gamble for you put money on.”

He looks at me slyly.  With some of them I can make positive connections and be recognized as almost human.  They rely on my expertise here since I’ve been fighting and training longer than anyone has, including staffers. 

“This one you want protect huh?  Lover.”

“Please sir, not lover.  Just very good fighter, need for you to know.  That one in my cage, yes, but not lover.”

“You think it ready for fight?  Then we book fight for it.  Not problem.  We have young fool male in trouble for raping concubine of ‘chnoll’ (aristocrat of the generally hated social strata) and must pay fine cannot pay.  Must fight in arena.  We put him with this one.”  Points at Tiki.  “We book fight in one week.  Challenger choose weapons three days from fight.  Yes?”

“Please, yes, that is very good.  Thank you.”  I bow and remain without moving while he returns to the shade of an overhang where they installed a table for cards, dice and drinking.

I know that the match will be ‘fair’ in favour of the fighter in this case because they like me (but can never admit it of course) and because it’s Tiki’s first entry.  They sometimes try to match new fighters with unskilled challengers.  It will be good for Tiki to win her first match fairly easily and probably not get hurt in the bargain.  A good deal, as well as I can manage with my limited bargaining influence. 

Tiki has tired out her partner and is leaning on the sword, panting and covered in streaks of muddy, dusty sweat.  She tosses her head proudly as I approach and salutes me with the sword, her eyes gleaming.  The partner says to me in our throaty, low voice:

“That one very dangerous.  Is killer.  Please, I no fight it more.”

“You may find another partner, and thank you for testing her for me.”

Always when I say thank you to these women they remain surprised, even shocked.  It is the word you use to men, not to women.  For someone to thank them means recognition of their humanity, equality, worth.  That simple word goes a long way anywhere it is used but never more so than here.

“Ready Tiki?”

“Yes.  I drink, I feel strong.  Ready.  More sword?”

End blog post #90

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #88

… Five, by empowering myself to reject any and all temptations put forth during my ‘in-between’ times by those who would buy me out or destroy me.  For it is true that all of us are constantly being watched by the forces we come upon and challenge.  Every battle we fight in the flesh is a battle we have already fought, are fighting, must continue to fight in spirit.
End blog post #87
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Begin blog post #88

Chapter 36 – “Stupid Speak” in the Cages – More of ‘The Teaching’

Due to the oppressive heat we are ordered to close the training earlier than usual and allowed to spend more time at the wash troughs.  The women eagerly wash each other and would be laughing happily were it allowed.  Tiki and Swala are playing with each other in the water until a couple of guards walk by and take them inside a small hut constructed of plain grey plasglas – a typical movable guard station.  They return a while later and I can just imagine how hot it must have been in there with those men.  It’s time to eat and I am starving.

The food, whatever it is, tastes as great as any I’ve ever eaten.  I quietly thank the young girl who brings it and ask her to pass my thanks to all kitchen staff.  She smiles shyly and as is their habit, rubs her head against my shoulder, letting it linger there a few precious seconds.  “Absorbing” my strength, I know.  I let my inner energy flow into her and can feel the difference as she takes it in.  They do know this trick, it’s not just a belief of theirs.  I wonder if it’s because they cannot speak freely they developed this power?  It’s the same concept as using hands and movements of the head to communicate when words are too dangerous to use.  Also, as I mentioned before, they use a quick rhythmic tapping upon the arm to indicate they do not understand something.

The meal over we are quickly and quietly ordered to our cages.  We lay on the straw, sweating, waiting.  The storm has moved in now and we hear the first distant rumblings of thunder.  It suddenly gets darker so we know the black roiling clouds have reached over to cover the sun.  The thunder gets closer and louder and now we can see reflections from flashes of lightning.  A hot breeze flows through the cages – our handlers having had the decency to leave the heavy doors open to create drafts.  We remain quiet and expectant as the thunder continues to rumble.  A bright flash immediately followed by a rumble and concussion tells us another part of the keep has been hit.  Soon there is the cry of men running and we hear carriages whining by.  I worry about Balomo and the Cydroids while most of the women are hoping the lightning destroyed the inquisition’s dungeons.

More lightning strikes and rumbles of falling stones tell us major damage is being done to parts of the keep.  It reminds me of bombardments during my brief years in the Melkiar invasions.  You crouch and hope you’re not the target.  Unlike then, I cannot run.  I cannot take my troops to safer grounds here.  We are prisoners in an old castle whose walls could topple upon us if the heavenly bombardment followed by its concussive blasts repeats much longer.  I’ve seen the cracks and done mind sweeps of this place.  The entire structure is weakening with each passing season.

One good thing about all this commotion, we can freely talk as the men are busy saving their hides or digging each other out of rubble and the noise covers our voices.  I call the women closest to Tiki and I and we ‘introduce’ ourselves formally, using our women names.

Suddenly unsure as how to proceed, I sense so much expectation from them, I begin thus,  “What women of T’Sing Tarleyn want more than anything?”

“Want alla! (freedom, pron. ‘aya’).  Want no more beatings, killings.  Want children.  Want family.  Want safe place.  Want home.”  These were the main “wants” I identified among the many, all of which were legitimate.  At least they had some idea that what they were experiencing was not normal; not what they were supposed to experience.  They had thought about it and knew life was supposed to give them better things than what they were given.  I ask,

“How women get good things, you think?”

They had ideas on that too.

“If men all gone, we free.  If goddess kill all men, this our land then.  We no more kill.  Have children by river, be happy.  Grow food as did long, long ago.  Build houses, be safe.  If men come, we kill.  No more they take us, no more.”

They raise their voices in anger and I ask the few near me to quieten them just in case.  Then I pose the obvious devil’s advocate question:

“If no men, how make babies?  How have children?  Babies, children, they come from man seed, yes?”

“Goddess make seed, make babies for us.  We not need men; not have evil babies from evil men.”

I reply, “Goddess not make seed.  Goddess make love.  Goddess, she fight against evil men long ago, they win, see?  Goddess not evil warrior, not fighter.  You think maybe problem not from men but from other very evil beast?  Twist, destroy men heart so they no feel woman pain, woman love?”

A woman hidden in the dark behind me says, “This hard to know.  We know men evil.  Kill women, always.  No woman free here.  Is women free other place, Anti?”

“Some place, yes, women free like men.  No difference.  No hate, no fighting, no killing.  Not many place yet.  But problem here, not other place.  Must fix problem here.  Like broken thing.  Cannot leave broken thing here to find good one other place.  Must fix here, now.  Cannot go to other place to live.  Cannot leave here, see?  This your world.  If men no fix, then women, they fix.  How women fix this world?”

“Women no can fix.  No power.  Goddess must fix for women.  She good.  She strong, powerful in sky boat…”

I stop that line of reasoning sharply:  “You forget.  She be beaten in sky boat.  Gone down in desert long ago.  Evil machine men, they enslave all women and children then.  Goddess no help then.  Be no help without all women with her; all women.  This very important.”

“How we with her?  If she dead, we be dead too?”

“She not dead,”  I reply, “she in bad dream.  All women together, they awake her from bad dream.  Take long, long time.  But first women must awake from same bad dream.  This men do here, is bad dream.  Not real.  Is evil, evil never real, not like dirt, straw, cloud, food or love.  Evil only real if women think it real.  Evil power is in weak thinking.

“Evil not grow here.  Always from other place it come.  From skies, from stars far away.  This evil, it eat good part of men heart, make evil.  If evil beaten, men awake too, no longer evil.  No longer hurt women.  This women must understand.

“Listen: is evil, not man-evil must fight.  Fight real challenger, not shadow.  Women, they fight shadow of evil in men, kill men, evil not die, just shadow die.  Evil go into other men.  Always make more evil.”

“Good, we know now.  How we fight evil, not shadow-evil?”

“Very hard.  Take very strong woman to do.  First, must have no man-evil in woman heart.  No man-hate.  No man-fear.  Must have only knowing.  Un-der-standing.  A-ware-ness.  Must know woman heart.  True.  Clean, like wash.  No evil in woman heart.  That be first thing.  Is possible this?”

“Is not possible, Anti.  If we no hate men, no kill men, we killed.  If we no work when men say ‘work’ we killed.  If we refuse men sex, we forced, gang-raped, flogged, killed.  Soon, no woman, no children alive on T’Sing Tarleyn.  Only stupid men.  If we not do bad to men, this they hate more than if we do bad.  How you say?  Men, they want women hurt them too.  They like hurt.  They crazy.  How you fix crazy?  Must kill crazy.”

How to explain my particular conundrum of ‘compromised morality’ or doing good by wrong concept to these simple minds?  I must be really dense not to see the obvious here.  They are innocents.  They would understand me if I could bring my knowledge to their experience.

And suddenly, in this dark cage surrounded by so much despair blended in so much newly awakened hope I understand the failure of so many Teachers in so many incarnations on so many human worlds.  It is their inability to climb to the top of this mountain and face the real scaffold: that we have less awareness than they have.

The difference between I and them is obvious to me in this moment.  They are more intelligent than I, being in their own element.  They are better equipped to understand.  They are more aware of the obvious.  And certainly they have more experience.  So what do they need of me?  They need the catalyst, that which forces change.  That’s all I am.  I have to put myself in the center of this latent force to create the explosion.  I am the mine that causes the avalanche; the detonator that causes the charge to blow.

End blog post #88

A Rhetorical Question

Short story by Sha’Tara

“Don’t mean to pry but that’s three buses you let go by. You look at them, stare inside then you sit down again.”

“Yes, you’re right. I wanted to ride around town but I really have no clue about these buses. I don’t even know how to pay to ride.”

“Oh! My name is Amelia. How come you know nothing about city bus transit?”

“My name is Ben, pleased to meet you. I just came in on a train down from Slago.”

“Slago? What’s a Slago?”

“It’s actually a place no one’s heard of unless they live in Slago, with the possible exception of some lowly clerk in the revenue service.”

“Slago… that’s some name for a town.”

“Slago’s not a town Mel. It’s an abandoned gopher hole in the middle of a forest, half of which is dead due to a wild fire two summers ago.”

“You called me Mel. Why is it that everybody when they hear my name, they have to call me Mel?”

“You don’t like it?”

“I don’t give a damn, really. It was a rhetorical question. You do know about those?”

“Rhetorical question? I’ll ask you one: can you introduce me to these labyrinthine buses if I buy you dinner, or are you working today, or otherwise engaged?”

“That is not a rhetorical question; it begs a few answers.”

“So I don’t know what a rhetorical question is. Do you have any answers for me?”
“Sure, OK. No, I’m not working today, I was going to do some shopping. I can explain some bus basics, get you started. It’s not rocket science. Think: if the bozos you bump into on the sidewalks can do it, hey! And yes, I’ll accept your dinner invitation. Do I get to pick the restaurant?”

“You’ll have to, I don’t know anything about this city.”

How was I to know that a simple conversation in a bus stop would deliver a fun day, a great dinner, a whirlwind romance, two children, a house with an unaffordable mortgage, a philandering, abusive drinking husband and a bitter divorce eleven years later? How’s that for a rhetorical question.