War Can Be Hell


Written in very cursive script denoting the maturity and education of the author.

December 16th

Dear Journal,

I’m sitting here in these pre-dawn hours, enjoying the solitude, the coolness of the air as well as just sitting here staring out across the landscape.  I know that with the dawn will come more work, more people and more horrors of war.  There are days when I wonder how this could have been any different from any other war or conflict that I have been involved in.  I know that I do my duty every day and if I make it through the day without being injured or just surviving, it’s been a good day.

Yes, yes, I usually try to keep my journals a bit on the lighthearted side of things by discussing my family most often and occasionally there are times when I just let my mind wander ad hoc and never really think about what I’m actually writing down.  Oh, I’m sure that one of these days, if these journals were ever read by another person, they will probably think that I was just one those arrogant men that felt that he had control over anything in his life.  Unfortunately, that has not been the case in the true sense.

I try not to write about the deaths I’ve seen, the letters of condolence that I have written to so many families in the past.  I know that I try to keep those letters as formal and as uninformative as I possibly can to the families, as policy dictates. Your son or daughter died in battle upholding the honor of the Horde – you should be proud that they gave their lives in this service;etc.

I don’t write about the fact that I watched their loved one screaming in pain or lying there holding their intestines inside with their hands and knowing that there was nothing the healers could do for them other than ease the pain for them until their souls cross over into the next life, if there really is such a thing anymore. I don’t write about the fact that I have seen men or boys close to the ages of my sons, lying there and sobbing for their Mothers, to ease the pain for them as they did when they were younger.  Each time I see these young men lying there and dying, I can feel my heart break a little bit more for their families and can’t help but compare those feelings to what Amyn and I would feel if anything happened liked that to our children.

Yesterday started out as a good day, I was going to take some time away from the command post and just go work at the little farm that I have started, not that far from Kal’s place, if the truth were to be known.  I probably spent a bit more gold getting the area that I did, for that reason.  I may not get to spend time with my son like I would like, however, I can tell by the way his fields are appearing, that he is still alive and able to work there. My little plot of land isn’t anywhere near in comparison to Kal’s place, however, he’s been at it a bit longer and I would assume that he has had more time to deal with things than I have because of our different levels of responsibility in our service.

I had just started to settle in to a day of being the farmer instead of a Ranger when I got a message to report back to the command post because an emergency situation had arisen that no one else could handle at the moment.  I have no idea where Dawnglory had taken off, however, the junior officer left in command knew where I was, if I was needed.

I got back to the command post to discover that I had had one patrol go out that had run into quite an ambush.  Instead of falling back and regrouping the young officer had decided that he would have his men spread out and still try to muscle their way through a group of Kaldorei.  Spread out?  What kind of moronic reasoning was this fellow using?  Fall back, regroup and assess the situation before you try a full on frontal attack, for Light’s Sake!  We’re Rangers, we don’t wear full plate armor and we sure as hell don’t have the fire power for that kind of attack anyway – it’s hit and run, hit and run, that’s how you survive when you run into a group like they did.  I lost 15 men and the young officer was amongst the dying when I got back.  Apparently, one of the more experienced men made the decision to get back to where a message could be sent for reinforcements without the officer’s knowledge.  I’m glad that he did break the protocol because if he hadn’t, I could have easily lost the entire unit of 25.  These men were supposed to be on patrol, assessing the enemy lines, they were not given a directive to fall into a full scale battle and they weren’t equipped for it.

A second patrol had been in the area and dispatched to assist this newer group of men and at least they were more successful in their assault than the first group had been.  We only lost two men from that group and that was due to possible friendly fire, which will be investigated.

I could feel the gorge rising in my throat when I entered the field hospital, the number of injured from this skirmish was inexcusable because it was unnecessary to begin with. I don’t know if I was more heartsick from seeing all of the injuries or if my temper was kicking in.  I know that the healers were doing the best that they could under the circumstances.  They were triaging the men as best they could under the conditions in the field.

The young officer that had led this debacle was lying in a bed close to the entrance, his condition might have been survivable, however, I’ll never know that for certain.  He only looked at me and told me it wasn’t his fault, I had lied to him.  How the hell had I lied to him?  He had been given his orders that morning just like the rest of the other officers were given – these were to be light patrols, nothing more.

 Over and over, we tell these kids that they have to send out scouts ahead of the patrols and then they have the points following behind at some distance – come to find out, he had ordered his  three scouts to stay within eyesight of the group and not rove as far afield as is their normal protocol.  As the ranking officer in the field, he had that right to make that call and it was wrong, so very wrong.  He lay there with those accusing eyes glaring at me as the bubble frothed from his mouth, grasping my hand as if I had the power to pull him back from death’s doorway. 

I didn’t realize that he had the strength or the arms to do what he did next. He had a knife in his hand damned near succeeded in taking me with him to his next destination point, which was going to be a black abyss of death if the bleeding didn’t stop.  I felt the blade as it weakly connected with my throat and I didn’t even feel my reflex reaction when I pulled my own blade out of my boot and buried it in his chest.  Yes, I killed him and it’s something that I will always feel guilty about, however, it was a choice of him or me…I wasn’t planning on making my wife a widow anytime soon.

I heard the screams in the tent from a healer that had been attending to the next man, lying a pace away from the man I had just killed.  I felt the pressure of a cloth being jammed against my neck to stop the bleeding from my wound, which is going to leave an interesting scar, as two others grabbed my arms and ejected me from the tent.  My wound was minor, however, what I had done was not.

To say that I feel horrible about what happened is a total understatement.  I’ve never lost control of myself like that in my life.  There could have been another way that I could have stopped the attack from an already wounded man, I didn’t have to take his life like that. 

The only thing that stopped me from actually turning and running away was the fact that a healer kept talking to me and asking me if I was “okay” and I know I responded that I was fine.  My body and my mind didn’t feel like they were connected, it was like I was standing outside of myself and watching what was going on. 

I know that the gossip of the event will spread like wildfire and I will have to face a tribunal of some sort, however, I feel that I will be exonerated from any charges.  I’m a Commander of a battalion of Rangers and this is a time of war where orders and directives are given.  If those are not followed, my actions alone should be upheld. The man attacked me and I defended myself.  Yes, I feel guilty for taking his life in the manner that I did and the only defense that I have is that when he attacked, my own training took over and I reacted without giving it a thought.

As for me telling him a lie about his orders for the duty, that’s not even remotely possible.  I’ve already found that he was outside of his patrol parameters and apparently had exceeded his orders enough to where he cost men their lives without a thought.  I can only think that he was one of my officers that liked to go out and “glory” hunt or something of that nature.  He was totally off the grid that he had been assigned for patrol by several miles. This was possibly someone’s ego outflanking any kind of strategy that he had been trained for.

The one thing that I can say about this war is that the men that are being sent to us these days are not trained in the manner that we have had in the past.  They seem to think that they are invincible just because they have the title of Ranger.  Some of these people are just barely out of their childhoods, is the shortage of manpower that great that we’re sending out green recruits to face the enemy?  I know that the Senior Officers in my command have all had problems with some of our more recent arrivals than we have in the years past.  This is something that we need to take up with the High Command before we have any more instances like this happening. I have also heard the rumor that commissions are being sold to certain families and young men.

Of course, I’ve already heard some of the gossip floating around and it isn’t pleasant, even if it may have some truth to it.  I do have certain leanings towards the Kaldorei due to my family, however, I don’t think that it has clouded my judgment.  Not many people here know that the young Kaldorei that I have been seen talking with is my son.  Of course, if this was common knowledge, I would be stripped of my command and probably end up being hanged for being a traitor – this is something that I have had to face for all of the years that Amyn and I have been together.

Yes, one of the letters that I wrote last night was to this young man’s family with the usual automatic lines about honor and duty.  Part of my mind wanted to write that he had died of stupidity in his search for glory, which would have been cruel on my part and totally unnecessary.  I know that due to his family in Silvermoon, there will probably be some repercussions if the gossip here in the camp reaches that far, which I am almost sure that it will, it usually does.

Now, I’m sitting here, the sun is starting to rise and I think I may have slept for about an hour last night.  The coffee tastes as delicious as it usually does and yes, I’ve probably smoked more cigarettes than normal.  My neck is aching a little bit this morning and I’ll probably go have it checked out in a little while before I do anything else.  Oh yes, it’s almost time for me to get back in my armor and head out to give out the orders for the day.  I hope that things go better today.

Pan is making me smile this morning because he has found a butterfly and is chasing it around in circles and acting like a kitten.  To him, everything in his world is acting as intended.  What little does he realize is that his master is feeling very old today and wishes that he could go home to his wife and kids.

Fnor Morningstar

 

 

 

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