Tag Archives: Slavery

Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #67

 

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
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Begin blog post #67

Chapter 29 – The Teaching Continues: Power in Simplicity

I call the women together, as many as I can without attracting too much attention and I make the boldest and craziest request of them I have ever imagined doing.  I have to involve all of them in some way in this  [coming fight: see last chapter] so that through me they will all be champions and winners in it.  My intent is to create an opening in their mind for an awakening to a new level of power.  They are a simple, child-like people.  I have to ‘remember’ the simpler means used by the people of Old Earth to empower themselves and introduce those here carefully.

There is a way I learned on Old Earth that could unite them behind me.  The ‘power of prayer’ as I remember it.  I don’t remember it working to bring about what the prayer asked, of course – there may have been exceptions and I remember some people I truly respected testifying they had seen ‘miracles’ done as a result of prayer.  But I am not superstitious and I will not jeopardize innocent minds with unverifiable stories.

What I do remember about prayer is that it brought people together to speak for a common goal.  Yes, our Old Earth requests were made to Old Gods who were quite deaf, if not dead.  But the words in the requests bound the people who prayed in a common circle of power.  That is the binding these women need now.  Time to go inside their hearts and their minds and re-create the human being in them.

“Listen,” I say to the nine women I have assembled to ostensibly demonstrate a new move with the double-edged battle axe.  “You call me Desert Beast.  You know is not quite true.  I not be her, I be one of her girls.  I too fly across skies to other worlds like her.  I need you believe me now.  This very important to all of us.

“I be Daughter of Great Desert Beast.  She be Great Mother to all women and girl children.  I want you make up words to Great Mother in Desert to help me.  Make poison and cutting blade turn away from my skin in battle with evil Warmo.  For this you make what is called prayer, meaning you ask her, all together but quietly – she has very good hearing if you speak of me – and must find same words for all fighters to talk to her.  When she hear you ask, she give me power and protection.  When I kill our enemy Warmo, she give all you the victory.  In arena when fighting our enemy I represent all you.  All us.  Now all you have same power and same protection.  She write down all your names in fire letters in sky boat where they written forever…”

“But we not have names…”  Objects one of them.  I continue to explain.

“Yes.  You all have name.  Think name and say name in prayer.  Think name you know, you like for you: that be secret power woman name.  Ask her, in my power woman name that is Antierra, then say your own secret name.  She hear.  She happy and she help us.  Your prayer, it wake her up from bad sleep, from bad dream she be trapped in.  Then she make sky boat fly again.  When you look in sky, if you out here, look.  If evil black metal birds that eat woman flesh not there, means Desert Beast sky boat coming to make new light; chase away evil black birds.

“One day, you see this.  Now believe this.  Always remember this, she your Great Mother, she be called a goddess.  Never to tell men of this – is great woman secret – power is in secret.  Never say to man you have goddess in heart.  Never!  They kill you, all you.  If speak this, goddess leave again.  Give no more power, no more help.

“Goddess, Great Desert Beast, she come down one day, she tell men herself.  You be her people and one day she come, she take you to place where you find all your children, all lost, dead children taken and eaten by black metal men, she bring back to you.  You happy then, forget bad things.

Again one of them interrupts, which is always a good thing; it shows they are intently listening and trying to understand the meaning of the worlds.  “If believe this, how long we wait for goddess?”

“Always is long time from beginning to pray.  So you not forget.  Never forget.  Always pray to goddess, every day.  Teach young ones to pray.  When dying, pray.  Not be afraid.  Not curse.  Just pray, leave body, leave pain behind in dead body.  Find new life in goddess.

“When I gone, dead in body, you pray.  I not really dead.  I come back.  I teach more.  This I give you to remember, to believe.  This you not understand?  No need.  Just believe.  If things bad, believe.  If things good, believe.  This is forever gift I give to all you.  This you call real love.  This when you die in body, you keep in woman mind.”

“What be mind?”

“Is like spirit.  Ghost.”

There is a collective intake of breath.  “Ah… we dead in body, we be ghost?”

“Yes.”  I did not know these people had a remnant of superstition, nor did I realize they knew about ghosts.  How stupid of me.  With so many deaths here, how could there not be ghosts crowding these places not knowing yet where to go?  These women see and sense the ghosts of their dead  partners, friends, lovers about this place but never speak of them.  It is forbidden and I’ve ignorantly opened another dangerous can of worms.

“Ghost is bad thing.  Evil.  We dead in body, we be evil things?”

“No!”  I shake my head in frustration.  “You be like ghost, not real ghost.  You be you but no body.  If you good, you good after die.  If you bad, you still bad after die.  Same you. That be mind, that be spirit.  You with no body.  But you free, not like ghost.  Ghost cannot leave but you fly away in skies like Desert Beast.  No need sky boat, just fly.  See everything, free, free.  No hurt.  No hungry.  No thirsty.  Happy like little fish in big water.  Swim in air, swim in water, swim inside sand, rock.  Easy.  That be spirit-mind you.”  I wave the training battle axe I’m holding in my hand to emphasize the point.  I stick its handle point hard into a crack in the stone, then I point it at the sky.  Anything to create a visual memory for the Teaching.  I almost wish I had the magic staff that split the rock or brought fire from the sky.  Almost.

As I explain to them the rudiments of worship and its real purpose which at its core is always self-empowerment, I ask myself how much of what I teach I believe.  But then, if you already know something to be true and real, you don’t have to believe in it.   You never have to fear that you could be wrong about such a teaching.  I have the experience of it and experience is the greatest of all teachers.

End blog post #67

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #62

(Something a bit different, a break in the story that explains a bit more about the politics of T’Sing Tarleyn. Thankfully short!)

For more information on the early life of Chang-X, see Rise of the Supremacy – Its Military Strategy – Melkiar Invasions and Aftermath by Michele Dellman, freelance journalist and Supremacy chronicler with contributing annotations by Deles Kotmallo of Parnako. The following report is intended to help the reader understand how Elbre was ruled and what that meant for the women of that land, in case there are still doubts.

End blog post #61
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Begin blog post #62

 As found in earlier writings by chronicler of T’Sing Tarleyn history, Michele Dellman

 re: King Jestor Tassard of Elbre by Michele Dellman.

 King Jestor (Yes, it is  pronounced ‘jester’) Tassard the One Thousandth Three Hundred and Three was the king of Elbre until the hundredth day before the arrival of An’Tierra on T’Sing Tarleyn {ref: Avatari and WindWalkers – the tales of Al’Tara by Deles Kotmalo}  At that time he was deposed through the simple but expedient and definitive process we call murder, by his own son who became king Jestor Tassard the One Thousandth Three Hundred and Twenty Eight.  It must be noted that the son only followed his father’s example.  Jestor the “OTTHT” (not to be confused with his son, Jestor the “OTTHTE) had also murdered his own father to gain access to the throne.  It’s a little family tradition that has served them well, so why should we question it?

The number, by the way,  does not refer to how many “Jestors” have ridden the throne of Elbre to ignominy and infamy, but to the year of investiture of power of that particular Jestor. 

 “Old” king Jestor Tassard (Jestor the “OTTHT’) is an avid spectator and promoter of organized sports – of one organized sport, actually.  On the day of his bloody climb aboard the throne of Elbre – a kind of coronation à la Napoleon that included the sudden, inexplicable but timely death of his father–(the inexplicability of it already explained) he held the most lavish of feasts.  It became known in the Annals of the King Elbre as the greatest display of state sanctioned pleasure-killings ever organized in the kingdom city.

 As per the records kept by the Arena Council of Hyrete, three hundred and eight female fighters, concubines as well as hapless birth mothers, female sex slaves and worker drones, were officially butchered in the Hyrete arena, most of them under the approving eyes of the new king, his jealous uncle and heir apparent and their respective retinues.

The event lasted from sunrise to sunset over a period of exactly six days.  It is assumed by this researcher that on the seventh day, the poor king desperately needed an extended rest period.  The very last victim to grace the arena and titillate the entirely male spectator crowd was the king’s own beautiful young concubine whom he personally escorted, with a complement of twelve aides, down unto the bloody sands of the arena floor where she was stripped and handed a weapon – a staff actually – with which to defend herself from, and attack to kill, her challenger whom as you have likely deduced, was none other than king Jestor himself.

The petrified trembling girl dropped her staff in utter terror of striking the king and for that little mistake was promptly decapitated by her reproving lover.  In a final tribute to the supremacy of malehood, the king then proceeded to have sex with the decapitated body.  A fitting end to a perfect week to commemorate the enthroning of Clown Prince Jestor to king of the fair land of Elbre.

(Note: my use of the word Clown rather than Crown is deliberate)

“M. D.”

End blog post #62

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]
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[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]

Earth is a Forced Labour and Death Camp

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

It may well be that prior to the advent of capitalism and prior to the establishment of the patriarchy that formed a global civilization, planet earth was as good a place as any on which to exist. Note that I am not saying “live on” or “survive on” but exist. To live means to have a purpose. To survive means to cling to life in the hope that it will give or provide purpose on the long run.

Only problem with that was, there was no long run and purpose seldom manifested in any meaningful sense. Those who gave themselves purpose without serving the Matrix, that is, the patriarchy and it’s exploitative, brutal methods soon found themselves hounded, hunted down, and when captured, “crucified” for attempting to bring about a change of methods to life on earth, that is, to man’s type of life, if it can be called that.

Based on my observation, I have come to the inevitable conclusion that man’s earth as defined by his capitalistic patriarchy is in essence nothing more nor less than a forced labour and death camp.

Do I really need to elaborate on that observation and conclusion or is this enough of a reminder that all of the greatest manifestations of social evil extant in this civilization can be laid at the feet of its “camp kommandants” who give themselves the titles of CEO’s, presidents, kings, queens, judges, professors emeritus, generals, policemen,emirs, investment bankers, popes, priests and preachers… any one who by some sort of decree holds the power of life and death over a subservient multitude.

Any member of the untitled multitude who decides to treat the elites in the same manner as it treats the multitude is immediately declared enemy of the people and put on a most wanted list to be eliminated. The rulers of the forced labour and death camp can kill any number of ‘the masses’ with impunity but the same does not apply in reverse.

The masses, trapped in this web of deceit and death learned long ago that to challenge and perhaps even dethrone the elitist apparatus was a very painful and bloody process that in the end only replaced one set of “kommandants” with another and surprise, surprise, that new set arose from the very forces that set out to upset and destroy the status quo. In other words, there is no way out of the camp except by dying.

And even then, that is not the end of it…

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #36

End of last post: … His face turns into a snarl and he lunges.  I parry and slash.  The blade does its work and cuts between the slit in his coat.  Blood gushes from his thigh and he winces, jumps back and prepares for another assault.  He’ll be more careful and more dangerous now. [end blog post #35]

[begin blog post #36

He’s angry more than hurt.  The cut was not life-threatening and did not slow down his movements.  He manages to slice into my forearm but I pull out of his slash in time, replying with another long wide swing that takes him on the shoulder.  To my surprise, the light axe bites through his protective armour and cuts deep into the arm.  He reels back but recovers before I can jump him and administer the slash across the throat I had anticipated.  I get a double cut on the calf of my left leg and now my blood is pouring out.  Were it not for Deirdre’s gift of stim and the cheelth coating in the laces the fight would have ended there – a sobering realization.

Risking it all I pull within his swing and turning as if to drive my pike in his stomach, I balance on my good leg and let the other rise impossibly high – doing those splits everyday may yet pay off – and having activated the hidden sole blade, I bring my leg down again, the tip of my sandal aimed straight at his heart.  This was beyond anything he could have anticipated or any information he may have purchased because I have never used this move since the day I killed that “careless” trainer, and that was pure accident.  As for the blade in the shoe, I can only guess he thought such a weapon too silly to be of any value, the extra weight on the feet not worth the effort and dismissed the concept. Remember what I said earlier about difference? A weapon does not have to be superior if it can help create the unexpected.

He cannot parry the kick in time and doubles over, the look of contempt for me frozen on his face.  I pull my foot back, regain my balance, swing the good edge of my axe and slash swiftly with my remaining strength.  His head is almost completely severed from the neck and I watch the corpse twitch to its death, the bloodied mustache hiding the rictus smile.  I practically eject myself from the fighter trance I’d hypnotized myself into to make myself aware of my surroundings and the sad shape my body is in. The stim is still working and I haven’t begun to feel my pain yet.

Instead of the usual spitting and cries of “Death!  Death!  Death”  there is no sound coming from the stands.  My trainers come and take me down through the tunnel.  Is it over?  I survived and I’m alive?  Same question each time.  You never get used to this even though you tell yourself each time you will return.

After roughly stripping me of my armour they take me to the shower stall and dump cold water on me.  I almost collapse from the shock and pain from my cuts.  I barely hang on to the edge of the trough, bent over, one hand in my mouth to keep from screaming.  Then I’m walked to the doctor’s clinic and again Deirdre is there, having somehow managed to get herself released from the cage.  She is allowed to follow behind, doing so in an uncharacteristically meek way.  Once inside the doctor’s office and the door closed, he helps me on his working table and quickly goes to work cleaning the cuts to cauterize them with a laser pen and sew up the worst ones. 

Deirdre holds me down but nothing is given to ease the pain.  I want to scream with the added pain but I understand the need of it: I have to return to the arena for round two, so they cannot give me pain killers or any other drug that would slow me down, confuse my thinking or knock me out altogether.  I must be able to feel my body, pain and all.  Also speed is of the essence so no luxury of time for another treatment by the auto-med.

“The slave will wait for you outside; I must speak to you alone,” says the doctor.  I sense another of those moods in him and say nothing.  He continues to examine me carefully.  I feel his emotions.  I must be exuding an extra measure of those pheromones.  I sense a kind of admiration mixed with loathing and hate towards me.  He would have taken me, even in my condition, I can easily tell he wants to, but some greater force prevents him.

After taking several deep breaths and running his fingers through his hair he says, “You are the only fighter on the roster today, I must warn you.  The reason is simple.  You belong to House Tassard.  No, you belong specifically to the King.  When you first arrived here in Hyrete and were put up for auction by the freelance slave hunters who found you, his aides came to look you over and when they reported what they saw, the King decided to buy you.”  

So that’s what the brother meant when he said he’d kill the King’s favourite animal.  I am the King’s fighter.  All the years I’d wondered who owned me until finally I gave up trying to find out and learned to concentrate on my purpose.  Interesting.  That explains a lot, especially the gradual ‘perks’ I’ve been granted with training and in weapons design, choices and handling.  I wasn’t alone.

“Wonder not I know these things.  I am assistant to the King on a regular basis.  He it is who orders me to take care of you…  but I cannot be here all the time.  I spend much time in the castle with the King, dealing mostly with the more serious state matters for politically, things are not well in Elbre.  Because I cannot always be here when you need me, I arranged for the Cholradil to be given to you.  We have taught her many new medical skills so she can take care of you when I cannot be here, or when I’m otherwise busy.  She has not spoken to you of these things because we bonded her into silence.  Once so bonded Cholradils cannot violate the trust put into them, however impossibly they be tortured or put through truth probes.  They cannot unlock their information to divulge it outside of their own minds.

“So I must warn you again that today is a special day.  It is adoption day for the King.  He has chosen a son from a specially raised group of boys bred for leadership among the aristocracy.  That is how they get their heirs here.  As a sign of goodwill he has opened the arena seats free to all propertied and moneyed interests who wished to attend and has decreed no taxes would be levied – today only – on any profits made from the gambling.  The King of course, hopes you will win.  He has promised to put his personal winnings in a special account for his son.  Believe me, if you do win, that money will be considerable.

“So it’s a great celebration but on the downside, it became known that his brother has been seeking to kill the King to take the throne.  There was much hate between these brothers – who were boys from different crèches.    It was the brother who contrived to have you fight the drook.  Your death was to cost the King a fortune and was meant to weaken him financially.  When you defeated the drook, the brother lost a fortune to gambling debts and legal claimants to the drook’s wages.  He went into a terrible rage and made a vow to kill you himself – a vow eternally binding upon the person who takes it if taken before three reliable witnesses, which was done.

“So he had you watched and also came to see you fight himself.  He took special training in the axe because, as you said, it is a most difficult weapon for a female to handle.  But he failed to recognize the value of your new designs.  He also underestimated both your strength and endurance though it was your speed that cost him his life.  Now his hireling and aide has, by contract and previous arrangement, to avenge the death.  Your next encounter is against Torlat whom I am told, you have already briefly met?”

“Well doctor, I only saw him.  He did not speak to me, nor did he come near me.  The Tassard did all the talking.”

“That is how it is.  Another warning: he is taciturn, yes, but highly intelligent and thoroughly into hand-to-hand weaponry.  Likely he will prove to be even more formidable and dangerous than the King’s brother.  With this one, I suggest you take your time for the obvious reason: it is easier to outlast a known opponent once you know his basic moves than to take on a new one.  Well, I don’t need to tell you that, it’s just a reminder. Also, since you are the only defender for the day, it’s all a matter of lasting out the time.  The King will terminate the sport once you kill this Torlat if you make it last long enough.  Otherwise the rule is that you must face a third contender to satisfy the requirements of gambling.  Third contender, triple winnings.

If the King leaves, the fighting ends.  So make it last, for your own sake.  They won’t give you any reprieve in terms of time, not after killing the Prince.” 

He suddenly reaches for me, pulls me up so I am sitting and we are face to face.  He puts his arms around me and holds me tightly.  There are tears in his eyes and even in my pain I feel a moving of my heart for him. 

He takes my hand in his, squeezes it.  “I care for you, Antierra.  I have lived here fifteen classic years and I am cursed with this planet’s madness, ‘tis true, but I know in my clear moments that I care much for you.  Please be careful in this next fight.  One at a time; just one at a time.  Remember no one can do what you do.  No one can fight like you and certainly no one knows weapons like you do.  You can win this next fight.  You must win it and you will win it.”   

His entreaty is genuine.  I reply, “You’ve given me two reasons to come out alive sir.  Deirdre and you.  To be cared for as a slave woman in this place is truly the ultimate gift.  To be cared for by a man?  If I did not honestly believe that all things are possible I’d say to myself, ‘this is impossible; it’s a trick.’  But I believe you.  I want to believe you doctor.  I need to believe you.”

[end blog post #36]

The Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #22

[begin blog post #22]

Chapter 11 – The Drook Challenger

Deirdre desperately needs to be trained if she is ever going to become a fighter.  I have earned a certain kind of “reputation” among the handlers and developed an understanding of their pecking order in the training compounds, from the overseer down to the lowly trainers.

Perhaps I should explain the hierarchy of authority and power surrounding the whole aspect of arena fighting.  First are the owners whom we never see or have contact with.  They foot the bills for our maintenance and they recoup these losses and sometimes even make money from the gambling on our fights.  The fighting is arranged by the arena council, a group of a dozen owners or other influential people representing Hyrete and other major centers where fighter slaves are bred and raised.  Then come a variety of “judges” who adjudicate on the various laws and rules of combat, weapons and the conduct of fighters and challengers.  They also decide when a fighter is ready to enter her first arena combat.  Then come the overseers, guards, handlers and trainers.

What a fighter must quickly learn is not so much the official power of each class of male over her, but their pecking order.  It is important to develop a sense of which men are the most power hungry and vicious and which men are there because it’s a fairly safe job, certainly more so than being palace guard, police or military.  These latter can often be manipulated if one knows how to play the sex and humility angle.  I know the ones who have enough authority among their peers to approach for small favours.  By dint of hints and innuendos, I am able to make my desire to train Deirdre known to a couple of handlers.

In return, possibly as a favour to an old and battered crone but one considered still in good enough form and a safe bet in a fair fight, I am given permission to begin her training.  I cannot fail to notice more than a hint of cruel amusement on the faces of the handlers when they authorize the training of Deirdre.  The reason is soon brought home to me.

She is utterly hopeless in hand-to-hand combat.  Though taller than most T’Sing Tarleynan females, she has no aptitude for weapons.  Try as she may, she cannot produce a single hit and winces as if in pain each time she does attempt it.  She blocks thrusts and jumps blows with amazing alacrity, using subconscious reflex actions that blur her movements.  She performs intricate dances of evasion to any thrust, even using the staff weapon as if it was made for pole vaulting, her acrobatics causing cheers to come from the males watching from the benches where they sip on their home brewed mead.  No doubt she is a superbly trained performer and entertainer.

But her heart refuses to enter fighting mode.  There is not one ounce of motivation there.  All the wonderful energy I experience from her when she helps me, or makes love to me, there is none of that on the grounds.  I am in despair.  One day she will be thrown in the arena and the worst possible will be done to her.  Why won’t she fight?

In each session I speak to her of this.  I try to impress the necessity of going along.  “You are strong, daring, probably the fastest I’ve ever seen.  And you are fearless,”  I say to her, “So why can’t you do what you are supposed to?”  Today she shrugs, drops her staff to the ground – a violation of my own rules as an unofficial trainer that could get her severely punished – and turns from me.  When I grab her and spin her around to upbraid her for her neglect and cowardice, I see her face is covered in large, hot tears.

In desperation I ask, “Who are you, Deirdre?  I know you are not gladiator material.”

“I am ‘Cholradil’ (pronounced show-ray); a natural born empath.”

I am shocked by that revelation.  “I thought they had no such class of female.” I reply to her.

“They don’t.”  She replies.  “It is said we are rare – they call us atavistic ‘throw-backs’ or freaks.  When they can use us they keep us, otherwise we are killed as soon as they discover what we are.  About three years ago while I was still in crèche I was caught stealing herbal medicines to help a wounded friend.  They could have flogged me to death but instead they put me in the line-up to be sold for gladiator training.  That was their real punishment.  Since the buyers were not made aware of my predicament, they made money on me which they would not have had they just killed me.

“They knew I couldn’t fight and considered it was a great joke to put a Cholradil in among fighters.  I cannot harm anyone or anything, let alone kill, you see?  I never told you because there was no point in it.  I always knew I would never be able to fight anyone and that I would be killed the very first time I go into the fighting ring.  It is my punishment.  It is the way of it.”

“It is the way of it.”  They say that with so much fatalism.

“They actually tolerate individuals who could never harm others?  They have empaths on this twisted world?  Why?”  The question was rhetorical, of course.  I did not expect her to have the answer.

“I was born feeling what you feel; what anyone feels who is close enough to me.  If you hurt, I hurt.  If I hurt you, I hurt me.  When I was still very young, I knew if another beat me up, I could do nothing but put my arms up to block the blows.  But if that person was hurt, I’d find some way to help her because I could always feel what she felt in her pain.  It wasn’t what you call “compassion”.  I didn’t have to like her.  I did not have to want to do it but I had to help her heal so our pain would go away.  After a while they did not hurt me anymore.  They left me alone and came to me only if they were hurt.  I would heal them and they would ignore me.  I was something they could use.  I could never play in their violent games or listen to their thoughts of violence against one-another and against the authorities they hated.”

“What class of girls were you bred for and raised in, then?”

“Sex slaves.  Entertainers.  Pleasers.  We learned all that is known about sex.”

“But your branding says you are class 04, fighter.  How can that be?”

“They changed it by grafting and re-branding to make more money.  I am tall and look as if bred as fighter.  It was a ruse on their part.  I sold for much money.”

Well, that explains some of what I’d observed in her.  “Is that why you speak so clearly and knowingly?  You were educated in the arts of words, of communication?”

“Yes.  I would be worth more.  Maybe even become a concubine of some great man.”

[end blog post #22]