Tag Archives: Slavery

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]

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #11

[start blog post #11]

“This be warning”  one of them intones, “You know rule: No wailing. No disturbance permitted.  All of you we flog too, happy to do.  But owners, they say too much cost, so you lucky today.  Proceed with training and maintenance of weapons.  Any talk; any whisper, you flogged same as that gorok.  He spits in the direction of the dead girl.

The message is delivered without inflection or passion.  It would appear these men do not feel the least amount of the pain, fear or any other feelings they cause others to experience.  No empathy.  To them we are less than animals, although I believe the expression here is quite meaningless.  There are no domesticated animals that I am aware of in this society.  The food we eat contains no meat.  But again, I’ve been wrong so many times about so many things in the few days I’ve been here!  Days?  No, not days.  I’ve been here an eternity that will never end.  I’ve fallen in hell and there is no doorway out of it.

Three handlers walk among us as we exercise or work, pick a half dozen of the youngest trainees and escort them through one of the stone doors.  One by one they shortly return.  One of them had been a virgin by the blood that runs between her legs.  She is ordered to wash and continue with training and work.  For the handlers, the flogging death they observed had given them a powerful sexual desire they needed to sate and that is also what we are for.

The day wears on, oppressive, endless, silent.  When the sun passes beyond the battlements, painting the eastern sky a lurid reddish brown fired through thin stratus type clouds, a reminder of drying blood, we are fed and returned to our cages.  The body of the flogged child, for she had been no more than twelve or thirteen years of age, now covered with some sort of black fly I hadn’t seen before, is removed from the post by two gladiators.  She is stiff and cold.  They carry her to the same door used to remove the body of her friend and is dumped in a similar conveyance.

And out of the blue my mind is asking, “What do they do with our bodies?”  I know that the dead men are taken to a hill outside the city and buried with much pomp and ceremony, but what about the bodies of the gladiators?  Or women in general?  In the field they leave them to wild beasts.  Do they take ours from here and from the arena to be eaten out there?  Or do they perform some kind of hellish rituals upon them?  

A cold chill goes through me and I try to change the subject in my mind.  Is there something else, something beautiful, I can think about?  Well, why not engage myself on my reason for coming here, instead of bemoaning a fate I deliberately chose or engaging in bouts of self-pity and self-doubt? 

Come on, woman.  Where is all that courage and bravery you were so quick to talk about once, far from here?  Where is your compassion now that you are living in hell?  Don’t both victims and oppressors need to find their freedom?  Think.  Why is this world, a place that could be so beautiful, such a horror?  What feeds the misogynist males and their killing instinct?  Why can they not sexually engage a female except by doing her violence?  Why is the beating of a woman such an erotic event for all of them?  Or is it all of them?  Could there be exceptions among the male population, and if so, how can I find them?

When the doctor had sex with me he did not use force or violence on me.  Well, yes, some force because he knew I could not refuse, but no overt violence.  In fact his handling of my wound was uncharacteristically gentle.  Who is he?  He is taller than other men I’ve seen, and his face is broader, flatter.  Could it be that he’s from another place?  That he’s not a true Tassardi?  Push this a bit further, could he be an alien like me?  If so, why is he in this place?  What is he to this place?  Why did he whisper to me “we want him dead” of my first engagement in the arena?  Who are these “we”?  And his friend in the white uniform.  I sensed a mantle of authority over him.  Authority from whom, where?  When he looked at me, it wasn’t out of lust; in fact I’d swear he was not sexually interested in me at all.  Who or what, is he?  What are they planning and how do I fit into that plan if at all?

Many questions.  Good questions engender good answers and keep my feverish mind occupied.  I will find out.  I will know.  I’m glad that tonight I’m alone in my cage.  My thoughts are so loud I’d be afraid to think them if another was lying with me and after Tiegli I’m not ready to “make love” to accommodate another.  I have no passion, no feelings.  My heart is numbed from so much violence and loss in so short a time.  I listen to the rustling of moving bodies in the fresh straw.  I hear muted sobbing. 

Later, a scream, quickly stifled, then silence – the silence of death.  A large bird or some nocturnal creature ululates a macabre call outside, the sound coming in from one of the square openings high in the smooth stone walls to echo as the voice of the dead throughout the compound.  Water drips outside.  It must be raining.  Yes, let it rain, hard and long.  Wash all the blood out of the courtyard.  Wash all the blood from this world until no world is left.

Rain – the tears of the goddess, she whom I must re-awaken in the hearts of these women.  And I too begin to cry and my own tears become an endless river of sorrow.  Tiegli’s hoarse whisper comes to my mind: “We be strong; we be courageous; not tough like stone; not fearless.  We be only women, not robots or evil beasts.  We have heart… feeling.” 

In that on-going nightmare I am finding my own power, not the power I dragged in with me as from my other self, the Avatari Al’Tara, but a power I have created from the mix of love and terror I have experienced here.  From the blood soaked stones and sand of the arena.  From the many fights I have already entered and “won” if one can call that winning; survived is a more accurate term.

I dream again, but it’s a no-dream.  A “locator” to help me find my mind’s feet on T’Sing Tarleyn, my chosen and adoptive world.  Yes, after all, what I dream of is loving, caring and giving.  I am; I am here; I am real.  And because I exist here, in this time and this place, everything will change.  I know this.  I am all the women I have been in every life as far back through time as I can remember.  Each with some memory of power gained from some great personal loss and deep sorrow and each willing to give her share of it to Antierra.  Together we will discover the true pulse of T’Sing Tarleyn and change its name to T’Sing Tallala (pronounced sing tayala); the land of freedom and hope.  All I have to do is survive the years ahead and not give in to fear but in particular, to hate.  Anger is permissible to me I think, as long as it isn’t based on fear and isn’t allowed to develop into hate.  I need to express anger as a psychological release mechanism.  If I do not I will break or become a complete hypocrite.

[end blog post #11]

Antierra Manifesto-Blog post #8 – Tiegli

[begin blog post #8]

Chapter 5 –  “Tiegli”

 “One must be poor to know the luxury of giving” (George Eliot)

He knows nothing of love, just fucking and that’s fine by me under the circumstances.  He responds to his lust stirred by my overwhelming desire for sexual release and finds his satisfaction.  When it’s over for him, it’s over and I’m left with an incredible ache of in-completion.  ‘Damn you!’ I think.  Hiding my shaking hands by pressing them hard into my stomach I wait as he slips his white robe on and directs me outside.  He calls to another man sitting perfectly still on a stone bench against the wall to my right.  He is wearing a white tunic uniform and apparently reading on a slate.  To me he appears as an extremely handsome man, taller than the doctor when he stands up from his reading to acknowledge the doctor with a quick wave of his hand, an unusual greeting or signal, the arm bent at the elbow, the forearm extended forward and the hand, facing down, moved stiffly and rapidly across the body and back.

They speak low, the uniformed one casting probing looks in my direction.  I am the intense subject of their discussion.  Leaving me standing there they walk across the yard and through a heavy stone door that opens and shuts automatically and silently.  I am left confused and utterly exhausted with my slashed arm throbbing horribly despite the doctor’s assurances that everything is fine; that it’s only a flesh wound.

With nothing better to do, knowing I can’t walk anywhere without some male escort, I focus on that new character, the white tunic.  What role does that one play, I wonder?  It surprises me that in such a black-white, cartoon-like world that so much still happens behind the scenes – so much that all the research I did on this world and my painstaking efforts to duplicate my future experiences here come to practically nothing in actuality.  You can study a thing until you go blind and still, until you experience it, you really know nothing about it.  I realize it’s fear that makes my mind wander thus but I cannot help it.  I have to “grow” into this place or it is going to rob me of my sanity.

Forget all that you know, or think you know.  Such is my life now: a blank followed by a question mark!  I wonder at the value of past life memories.  How can they help one when thrust into an alien power structure?  Yet, what else have I got here?  I was warned I would get no “off-world” help while I remained here.  I’m the only source of all my thoughts and all the decisions I make.  The right and wrong of it all, it belongs to me alone.  I can agree with what I do, or I can judge and condemn myself.  Still, I must live or die by my own choices. 

Ah, choices!  I remember my long-ago discussions with friends on the subject of free choice; how I insisted there is no such thing.  Indeed, if nothing else, Malefactus is proving that I was unfortunately correct on that point.

My handlers (guards or trainers, I still can’t quite sort them out) finally remember to come for me.  I am ordered to wash in a wash trough then I am served a meal, alone, by a kitchen slave girl.  I realize I am famished and the food tastes good to me.  After I eat I’m taken inside the cage area and shoved into one of the cages where a woman is sitting.  She is typically broad shouldered with a thick, short neck and her pale, almost white flesh is covered with scars.  She is bald; one eye almost shut and her left ear is missing entirely.  Her right breast has a deep scar from a cut through it and the nipple is missing.  She looks up at me and smiles a crooked, gap-toothed smile.  She reaches over and touches me with her right hand. She is missing two fingers there also.

Female gladiators do not have names, just physical descriptions and fighting titles.  She is “The Crone” being the oldest surviving female in the line-ups.  No point asking how long she has been here, the brands tell that story accurately enough.  Hers tell me when she was born (1303, bred fighter class 04)  The next line indicates she’s been in this compound since 1316 and according to my brand it’s now 1328.  That’s twelve years of surviving hundreds of encounters; of fights to the death. 

When they turn off the lights we lie down side by side, holding each other and although I desperately want to sleep she insists on telling me her story. 

“Why did they put me with you?”  I whisper to her.

“For me, a favour by guard, one night.  Accept?  I speak with you,” she whispers back, “tell something very important for us.” She grabs my wrist as if to impress her thoughts through my flesh, “You know we have no name?  Fighters have no names?  But I have name, real name!”  Proud she sounds even in her whispering.  She points at herself.  “Tiegli – and it has meaning too.  Undaunted.  No Man hears this name, but all fighters here have, and they have much envy my luck.  Some they fight with this name – very strong name.  Also mean fearless.  I live this name, many years. 

“Listen: there is big fight tomorrow and die with four women escape to desert and bring back – you know this.  Tomorrow is killing orgy.  No fighter live after this no matter how many of men we kill.  They just come more and more.  We weaken with losing blood and so tired we can not hold weapon or stand.  Then they kill.  Sometimes give rape if we still have enough life, much hurt they give before we die – revenge for men we kill – ritual.  Vengeance ritual.”

Her story is short.  At age of ten she has already been sent off from her crèche to be trained as a fighter and is being held for auction in a female child compound.  There is a raid that turns into a blood letting until the besieged make peace by offering their attackers the “contents” of their female compound.  Now both sides fall upon the hapless females.  Tiegli is taken by a couple of young brothers and hidden.  They hope to keep her alive long enough to sell her on the black market that flourishes in certain parts.  They stuff her in a pack bag and from a tear in the side she is able to observe everything that takes place as the young girls are raped and killed, some tortured viciously.  She sees her best friend gang raped then cut open across the stomach.  She throws up inside the bag and forces herself to pass out.

As a bag of grain stuffed in a pack, making no sound and no demands for food or water, surviving the heat in her vomit and excrement, she is bounced along for two days strapped to a harness carried by male slaves.  She is taken out during a violent storm in between suns twilight, staked out in the rain to wash where she is inspected, haggled over and sold to buyers from Hyrete – the fortified city we are in now.  Hyrete is a major center of commerce and entertainment in Elbre, but also distinguished by being the capital city of the kingdom of the royal house Tassard. 

So the people of Elbre are called the Tassardi.   The only other major “kingdom,” actually a so-called unified republic ruled by an oligarchy of merchant houses, is Estáan.  The people there are known as Estáani.  While complete enmity officially exists between these empires and dependencies, there is much slave trade between them.  As elsewhere, business knows how to take advantage of enemies as well as friends.  The bottom line remains the bottom line.  Trade is good.  War is even better.  First and foremost, profit.  Then whatever.

During her training in Hyrete there is an uprising while a multi-event killing orgy is taking place.  She is taken by the group of rebels and with male help and the use of two stolen “carriers” they flee into the desert.  The rebel leader baptizes her and gives her the name of Tiegli.  When they are captured, as inevitably happens, the ring-leaders are executed by torture and she is returned to the compound.  They cut off her ear and shave her head.  She would never be allowed to grow her hair again.  She is entered in her first fight much too young and almost killed.  Fortunately her opponent is a young foolish buck with little experience.  She barely manages to bring him down and the fight is terminated before she has to kill him.  After this, it’s just fight after fight, kill after kill.  From training/holding compound to the arena and back.

“Why do they do this?” I ask.  “Why do they fight you if they know they will get killed?” 

She chuckles in the dark and pinches me, “They say honour but mostly is money.” 

“Honour?”  I ask.  “How can there be honour in killing a woman, or being killed by one?”

Another chuckle, “You not know these things?  Some, we say you from the land, the rock of T’Sing Tarleyn.  Some, we say you Desert Beast rise from desert sand, come to help women.  Some, we say you from other world.  We know only this world.  Are people up there?”  She grabs my wrist tighter and lifts my hand upward so I understand what she means.  You tell, not lie to Tiegli, please.”

“No, not lie.  I will tell you but you must answer my question first.  About honour.”

“Everybody is enemy; someone is enemy of someone.  Women most dangerous enemies because men attracted to woman sex and lose fighting power.  So young boy must kill female as proof he free of female weakness.  Boy is given young girl – sometime older woman no good no more – to kill.  Rite of passage to be man.  Necessary or boy killed too.  They always must … hmmm… show power to hate and do by shouting and killing.  Also must kill enemy.   Boys go to great hunts in big desert” (I note she points to the south) “and where high mountains live.  After big desert and mountains there is green land of grass and short trees that make tent” (I cannot make her explain further – canopied tops of leaves that deflect water or sunlight?) “In that away far land they kill wild beasts or take wild black people for slaves if they find,” and she points to the only dark-skinned woman I’ve seen, a young woman whom they nickname “The Brute” sitting and rocking herself in a near-by cage.  “She harvested when very young.  They train, she good killer.  Dangerous.  Something wrong in head.”

She continues with her story and I try not to interrupt her. 

“Sometime, yes?  They make large group, many weapons (I gather she means armies) attack other group, city.  Much die in what called raids.  Sometime fight group join enemy group in wild celebration after battle.  Compounds full of females they raid to rape and kill and if “evil juice” is found men become like Warris (which she describes to be wild peoples of the south lands who practice cannibalism) and cook female bodies to eat. I, Tiegli, know.  Saw, smelled the flesh, even I get hungry from smell.  This I see when taken.” 

[end blog post #8]