Thursday, March 26, 2015

War Journal of Christopher Köch Day 9

This last entry has taken several days to pen, as I rest from my wounds and try to adjust my mind from the mindset of war to the mindset of peace. It is a difficult adjustment, having been on campaign so long and experienced so much in a short time. I am changed because of it, for the better I feel but only time will tell.

What would become our last day of the campaign began far earlier than most of us would have liked. There was great feasting and drinking the night before, celebrating our retaking of the fortrss from the Ansteorran forces, and many of us awoke roughly that day still feeling thepounding  of the wine and beer. Our King commanded us to muster however, so muster we did. It was time to push the remainder of our enemy forces from the land and free it from the grip of the Black Star, and a great offensive of the entire army would occur. I armored up, tried to ignore my pounding head and fell into ranks with my fellow soldiers.

We met at the edge of the ravine, circling around the Ansteorran forces to cut off their escape. Our numbers were mighty and our blades freshly sharpened, but even the experienced fighters amongst us were not prepared for the sight across the way. Barely numbering a third of our forces, the remaining soldiers and allies of Ansteorra could see the writing on the wall and knew that this day would be their last. In the face of such bravery and acceptance of fate, but refusal to yeild, my heart was moved at the display. I felt pity for what our King asked us to do, and looked around and saw a similar look on many in the allied army. So moved, the generals of the Northshield and East armies approached our own and proclaimed that they could not allow these brave men to stand alone. Our general, tied by loyalty to our crown, could not let the Ansteorran forces pass without engagement but allowed out allies to fight for honor and chivalry against us for he too was moved by the Ansteorran display. Hands were clasped and patches of brotherhood sworn, and I stood by and watched as our noble allies offered their own lives to help the brave soldiers leave.

Soon, the most grueling and painful battle of my life began. Our forces poured into the ravine, determined to cut off the advance and escape of our foes, and the Ansteorran forces met us with the ferocity  of a cornered lion. Time and time again we crashed upon their advancing line, and all of our best efforts could not do more than slow down their escape. For every man that died two more took his place in a bid for freedom, and as the hour passed on they pushed and fought through our defenses. Seeing that they would fight to the last, and not wanting to risk any more Trimarian dead, our general called a halt to our battle and allowed them to pass. Will this come back and hurt us in the future, only God will know.

Wounded, I struggled back to camp before collapsing in our wagon. My wounds were tended to, I was redressed and soon rather sleepily we pulled away from the campaign. Our King had declared an end to combat and hostilities in the sake of peace talks, and with myself and Alexander the Plump wounded and exhausted from a week of fighting we took to the long trail back to Trimarian lands. I lay half asleep as the ladies around us spoke of adventures and shared stories, and I was lulled to sleep by the gentle embrace of my own loving wife.

Over the last few days I've had time to reflect on this campaign i undertook, and all that it means. This is not the first war I've traveled alongside, but it was my first fighting war. I will remember those I stood beside, and those who stood for me. I will remember all the new experiences and hold them close to my heart. Combat...satisfied something deep inside. My soul yearns for my art, my heart takes joy at my service, but there was something carnal and truly physical in pleasure to be fighting for my King. It will push me to become better, train harder so I can better satisfy my own needs. 

Until then, I am back to work. My wagon is in need of repair, my kitchen work calls to me and my heart yearns for the quiet solace of art.

But I will not forget the sounds and sights of war anytime soon.