While I draw him after me again I marvel at the design and temper of those short blades in the sandals. It penetrated cheelth as if it was paper and I’d be willing to bet there is hardly any dulling of the cutting edges. Way to go Master Smith, I love you!
End blog post #75
Begin blog post #76
Chapter 33 – The Fight of the Beasts – Part Two
Three hours into the fight, according to the great wall chrono and finally the trumpet calls the time out for cooling down, drink, weapons switch entailing armour replacements and patch up work on the cuts if needed. My handlers bring a first aid kit, help me remove all my armour since the next fight has to be with the rapier and dagger requiring we do it naked. Using sterilized and anaesthetized fibresteel staples they patch my cut and apply morphing tape on it. I bite on the handle of my rapier to absorb the pain. I nod I am OK to proceed and adjust my sandals.
Since I ‘invented’ the sandals we have been permitted to wear them in combat even when the rules demanded we be naked. Foot wear is not considered part of one’s apparel. Like so many other rules pertaining to the treatment of fighters, rape, and procedural matters of fighting, it would be a complete waste of time to wade through them looking for either common sense or consistency of enforcement. This world is choking on legalistic legalism. They make laws to interpret laws, laws to enforce laws, laws to render existing laws unenforceable. And yet bottom line is, all law breaking is considered a crime, all crimes are a capital offence. What was it that I learned during my days with the Supremacy forces? That when a thing becomes all, it becomes nothing? Absolutism destroys the very thing it would become… or claims to be.
As I prepare my mind for round two, I recall my Teaching to the women in the compound a few days ago. I wonder if they are doing the prayer I taught them. I sense they are. And I look into the sky above for the circling vultures. Hmmm, yes the are still there. Well, I did not say it would happen today, did I. What I said was, it would be a long time before these scavengers are frightened away by the sky boat of the goddess Desert Beast in her green scale suit. A long time. A time to determine whether they chose to become self-empowered, or chose to forget and remain in their slavery. That choice I cannot make for them, only for myself. But perhaps I can help them make it. By example.
In actual fact, the only thing that will send the scavengers away is when they no longer find food outside the great Keep of Hyrete – when they are no longer being fed the bodies of fighters and other female victims of the Power that rules Malefactus.
I drink greedily and surreptitiously slip the stim cube out of a tight lock of hair above my left ear and slip it into my mouth, cutting into it and letting it take effect slowly. Amazing stuff but I can’t understand how anyone could become addicted to it. That sex-slave trainee must have been introduced to it in some bastardized form, with something else in it, added to it or injected in it. Chakr mix? Possible. Or some kind of subtle poison which would explain her insane outburst.
I am able to penetrate the Warmo’s mind block while he is pondering his next moves. In my mind I actually see the attendant inject the poison on the end of the dagger blade, wait a couple of seconds for it to gel and blister the steel, then slip the blade back into its closed scabbard. Subtle enough for the average person, but I’m using Avatari functions today. I’ve noticed that lately they have been returning to me incrementally. I never thought I could use them to actually fight with intent to kill someone. Much to learn, I have!
Strengthened by food, water, stim and the short rest, I slip on the belt that holds the dagger in its scabbard. I take the rapier in both hands, lift it high over my head pointing directly at the sun and perform a high flipping throw, letting the thin blade gleam and vibrate in the sunlight. I wait for the thin sword to return to me and grab its handle as it comes down, blade straight up. Again I lift it high, only this time as a salute. Then I flip it down, tip into the sand and bowing my head, I wait for the centering trumpet.
It seems an unusually long time in coming. The crowd is growing restless without its usual quota of cut flesh, spilled blood and screams from the dying. I wonder too – what’s the hold-up?
A judge in a bright red robe and hood thrown back comes striding into the ring, kicking sand with his bare feet and puffing. He’s carrying a gold circle in his hand meaning he has a priority message. He stops by a group of trainers and handlers who have assembled. He slips the ring up his arm, indicating he is speaking for the Courts and the Law. He points at me and explains something with arm and hand gestures. A handler shakes his head negatively and angrily. The judge points at him and does the hand across the throat sign. ‘Shut up or die!’
A trainer comes over to me. “You slave, take off sandals, now! Fight naked now, no shoe.” I unstrap my sandals and hand them to him. He rips them from my hands and throws them at the judge’s feet.
He yells at me, “Now krosspeeg, you listen. This fight special, different, understand. When challenger drops belt and weapon, you do same or you flogged by challenger, killed. When he ready, you fight – no weapons, understand? If he no weapons, you no weapons. You keep weapon, guards cut arm off with laser.” He says these words clearly so they carry into the crowd.
Then he comes closer to me and under guise of checking my weapons or belt he whispers: “Sorry to you, we must obey Law judge. Big change, big problem with the Warmo. Much evil done. Cannot help you. Must fight bare hands. Sorry you not trained. Much we need you win. You OK now?” I nod and would just love to hug him and assure him it’s all right.
The Warmo has taken off his boots and suddenly drops his belt and weapons. He stares at me and I cast a sidelong glance at his totally naked body and the way his toes curl in the sand. Powerful legs and forearms. Have to concentrate on those. Yes indeed, this is a switch. There has never been a weaponless fight has long as I’ve fought in this place. Only in the killing orgies have I seen people tear into each other with bare hands, or kick each other in the genitals or face. But those were free-for-alls and no one would dare intrude to bring order.
The trainer raises his voice again. “Understand now, krosspeeg? You animal, fight like animal. Beast fight with beast, no weapons.” To avoid punishment or worse, forfeit of the fight, I drop my rapier and dagger belt and the trainer grabs them and throws them at the judge’s feet also.
So what the Warmo let me see in his mind was a complete fabrication, a deception. I understand now what the Warmo is doing. First, by disarming me he’s preventing me from fulfilling my promise, should I win, to cut him down piece by piece and torture him to death. Second, if he gets close enough he will bite me, Vampire fashion and drink my blood to weaken me and strengthen himself. That taste of warm female blood is how he gets his power. I know that even my bionic wrists, which he must suspect I have somehow acquired, seeing as how he destroyed my original wrists on his infernal cross, and the small cube of stale stim I have ingested cannot prevail against what he plans for me.
However, like Samson recovering his strength as his hair regrows, my Avatari awareness has been returning to me. And the reason is, this battle is for the very soul of T’Sing Tarleyn, hence of Túat Har. On the etheric we are not human combatants but cosmic divinities fighting for the mind of an entire world. One of us wants to own them to devour them one by one; one of us came to redeem and to set free.
One of us is the Demon; the other the Avenging Angel.
End blog post #76