I had a vision.
I was performing oral sex to a disgusting fat man while he kept telling me to look into his eyes. I was young, my body was frail and I was wearing a simple linen dress. This happened in a dark and humid stone basement. The Master liked me, I was his favourite. One day or night, I had lost a sense of time, a young soldier guarding the access to the basement entered my cell after the Master had left. He was looking behind him, he did not have much time, he seemed sympathetic. He said I was the Master’s favourite that if I could play the game of pretending and willingly participate in his appetites, the Master would gradually allow me more liberties and freedom. The young soldier added that we were all slaves in this kingdom, that he would help and that together we could free everyone.
Something inside me changed when the soldier closed and locked the door to my cell and left me in the dark. The shame, the sadness and the insanity inside me turned into anger, rage and a thirst for vengeance. Willingly participating in the Master’s desires was a torture even worse than what had been done to me before. It was not hard to keep the scared and frail little girl alive inside me because that is only what the Master saw when he looked at me. I simply added hope to my heart and the will to live and it transformed me enough to hold his gaze as he always wanted. Nothing else changed but my gaze. I think I smiled when he offered me a room with a bed and silk robes and silver jewels. I would sit on the bed and caress the cloth lost in my mind. There were servants who brought me food and drinks and everything I asked for. A servant girl looked at me with pity in her eyes, maybe she considered her position better than mine. There was a fountain in the courtyard I had access to. The landscape was magnificent; soft green prairies and grey mountains on the horizon. The palace was vast with buildings, courtyards, red tiles on the ceilings, statues of gods and goddesses and soldiers dressed in red tiles armours.
The Master came often to my room, more often that he did in my cell. At first his desires were insatiable but they grew dimmer. He would even come to me to sit, eat and talk. He would talk about his kingdom, his rivals, the troubles with farmers or soldiers. He showed me plans for new buildings, temples, libraries, training grounds. He cried the death of his only son lying on my lap. The more time I spent by his side the more I realized there was two women living inside me. One gentle, compassionate and sad and the other wide-eyed furious and blood thirsty. They could’ve had different names but I had none. One night, the young soldier came to me. It was him who guarded my room. He was handsome in his uniform, his hand always on the guard of his sword. He had intelligence in his eyes and cunning. He looked left and right and entered my room. He said everything was going well. That soon the Master would feel so lonesome that he would marry me and in so doing, make me mistress of the kingdom. He asked if there was something he could do to help bear my burden. It was the bloodied lady inside my mind that answered with grinding teeth: teach me how to slit a throat, I said. That handsome soldier was surprised but not so much. I felt this had been his plan all along, he was only surprised I was ready to play along.
Some nights, he would enter my chambers and sneak me out to a dark alley where fellow soldiers under his command were holding down some other disgusting Master from a nearby province or from within my Master’s government. The lady in white inside my mind came forward first. I saw the soldiers holding the despicable man to his knees and their commander handing me a thin dagger. I was shaking. I was petrified by fear. The bloodied lady in my mind was screaming her eyes out to do it. Death to the Masters, she repeated. My protector held my hand and showed me the quick movements that would ensure the best results. I moved forward repeating the movements and cut the man’s throat in the worst way. He made the sound of the pig he was. The soldiers finished the work for me that night as I remember only being walked back into my room, looking at my hands wondering what I had done. My protector came often and took me out to kill those he said deserved it. He would say we were slaves because of them. I knew he was right by only looking into the eyes of those I killed with two simple movements of my wrist.
Finally, came the day when I found a wedding gowned in my room. The Master entered and announced he would take me as his wife. He said he had no one else in the world but me. I smiled. He was going to die. I could already see him drowning in his blood. The bloodied lady in my mind was laughing a hideous laugh. I hardly remember the ceremony in the temple, I could only stop myself from shaking. It seemed I could barely hold it together the closer I got to being rid of the disgusting Master. But I remember clearly stepping in the central courtyard next to my husband and facing the Army of the kingdom. They all stood at attention and saluted. As my husband raised his hand to acknowledge them, the soldiers dropped their salute. My husband felt silly, like he had forgotten some military procedure but I was elated as I knew they were saluting me. My husband led me to our new apartments. It was perfect. All the drapes, the curtains, the bed linen were red silk. I was eager to get undressed for once, the bloodied lady in my mind was out. I became more commanding. I was not a slave anymore, I was the Mistress. I pushed my husband on his back on the bed and he laughed. He so disgusts me, I thought. But I sat on him nonetheless with a big smile on my face. I grabbed his shaft firmly in my hand and shoved it inside me like I had a second mouth ready to bite him off. I enjoyed myself riding him and looking at his face; He was happy. He thought life could not get better. As I was ready to explode with the intensity, I raised my hands to my hair and as I felt the earthquake in my hips and saw his eyes rolling in his skull, I swiftly moved the thin dagger under his jaw like it was the most natural thing to do. Like signing my name if I had one. The bloodied lady in my mind was ready to plunge her hands into his chest, ripping his rib cage open and clawing his heart out of his chest. But the lady in white in my mind stood up instead and walked out the room. I exited the red room as a servant girl jumped in surprise, bowed her head and called me Mistress. I took her head in my hands, looked deep into her eyes and said: we are freed slaves now, you and I. Find the captain and bring him here.
I walked like in a dream toward the temple. I entered the empty room with a rectangular fountain in the middle of the tiled floor. I entered the fountain and fell on my knees. I cried 20 years of torture. My body was sick. I barely noticed the presence of the monks around me lighting candles and incense and chanting for my lost soul. I lost track of time. But at some point the monks helped me up, washed me and dressed me. After a few days the temples doors opened and the captain was standing proudly in the entrance. He was handsome. He was proud. Of his plan and of me. I stood in front of him, took his head in my hands and we touched foreheads: you believed in me, I said, because you believed in me we are free. All who believe in me are free. We walked to the central courtyard with his arm locked with mine. The Army was gathered and cheerful. A soldier left the ranks with the jar in his hands. He gave it to the captain and the captain turned and gave it to me. It was a heart. Inside the jar, there was a heart. The heart of my husband and Master. This was the most beautiful gift I had ever received. I smiled with joy for the first time, took the captain’s cheek in my hand and looked deep into his eyes. We were bonded now. We would be forever. I screamed to the crowd in red armour that we were free now. Death to the Masters! As the soldier cheered, a small squad left the ranks with three men, their hands tied. They dropped them on their knees in front of me and the captain. My captain said they were Masters of the three sister provinces of this kingdom. He asked what we should do about them. I asked to see their wives. I saw servants girls bringing the wives from inside a building to our right. The women walked and trample on their dresses, looking around them like someone was about to do something to help. They were made to stand behind their husbands. Two were slaves like me, scared and obedient and broken. The other was just as disgusting as her husband and I declared she would join him and his fate. I walked among them thinking of what should be done. I declared they should be locked up until we knew how their domain would deal with their absence. I took my captain aside and told him we should visit the provinces and find out what we can do to help them free themselves. He agreed and he smiled. Of course he said, we will soon be on our way.
We rode toward the first province, the nearest, with half the Army behind us. We encountered scouts bearing the emblem of our sister province ruler who was in my jail. We prepared ourselves for any kind of welcome. When the village came into view, we noticed a crowd in the middle of the central plaza. It seemed all the farmers and villagers were gathered waiting for our arrival. I approached the crowd still riding my horse and said: My husband is dead. He choked on his own blood for his crimes. My kingdom is now free from the Masters. Death to the Masters. As you probably know by now, the Lord of this province is rotting in one of my cell. Who would you like to see lead you toward a more hopeful future. Speak his name now. The crowd spoke different names in a cacophony until one name started resounding more and more until it was the only name chanted in unison. A man stepped forward. He was young and bald. He had a friendly face. I asked him why did the crowd choose him. He answered that he loved them and they loved him. I stepped down my horse, grab a big ring in my bag and handed it to him. You are Lord of this province now. We will be back to check on your progress. We are all free from the Masters now. Death to the Masters. I jumped back on my horse and the convoy continued riding on to the next province.
We arrived by nightfall to the second kingdom. It seemed the village and the Palace were in flames. My captain made us leave the horses behind and walk in a tight formation toward the village. I was walking in front with my captain to my side as we entered the village and saw villagers running in all directions, looting, setting fires, fighting and killing. My captain raised an arm before me and pushed me a step back. His soldiers surrounded me. One man from the village approached my captain. He said: What are you doing here? We don’t need your help. Go away! My captain looked left and right and saw no reason to stay. We were about to turn our backs when a little girl ran toward the soldiers and grab onto the leg of one of them. Help me she said, help me! She grabbed that soldier’s hand and was pulling it toward a lower part of the village. The captain led the way and discovered two dozen villagers locked in a temple, dirty and famished. We took them with us and rode back home. The refugees found hospitality and comfort in my kingdom.
We prepared our last ride and headed for the third province. We discovered the son of the former Master had taken over his father’s legacy of torture and slavery. He had gathered a hundred villagers in the main plaza and had chained them to their neck and to eachother. He was protected by mercenaries yet they did not seem very interested in my Army and I when we approached the new Lord of the province. He saw me walking toward him and started yelling that he was the new master now, that nothing would stand in his way, that he was all-powerful. He had crazy eyes and he was spitting while shouting. Each step I took brought me closer to him without anyone interfering. I don’t think the new Lord even noticed my presence until my hands were around his neck and I was crushing his throat with all the strength the bloodied lady in my mind was offering me. I could feel a great power in my hands as I said: you will die right here, right now. Die. DIE! I saw nothing else but his eyes and the ground as he slowly fell on his back. No one had moved. Not the mercenaries, not my soldiers, not my captain. I looked at the villagers chained together and ordered my Army to free them and send them home. After they had done as ordered, my Captain ordered the Soldiers to loot the palace. They separated the cloths, the porcelain and the gold in crates and distributed them to all households. After that, we came back home, planning our return in a few moons.
We returned home my Captain and I. We ordered the cloth, porcelain and gold of the palace be shared with our people, to show our gratitude for the spirit and the discipline they demonstrated that made our freedom possible.