DargonZine 3, Issue 11

Understanding



As I sit here under this tree and watch my friends die, I think of how nice a day this is. It’s a fine day to just sit and watch the hawks circle lazily through the sky, occasionally dodging an errant arrow. The clouds seem oblivious to the carnage happening below them. The grass, on the other hand, gets to see it all; the blood, the horror, the death.

 

The grass doesn’t understand …

 

I was one of the first to fall during the first rush. I was holding my shield a little too high, and I caught an arrow in my right leg just above the knee. As I stopped to remove it, I took another arrow in the side. I fell and crawled out of the way of my comrades, who continued the attack. I had fallen near the tree, so my crawl was not a long one, but it was most painful. The arrow in my leg snapped off when I fell, but the leg is almost numb, so I don’t notice. I removed the arrow from my side, but it was high enough to catch a lung. Already I am coughing blood, and the wound continues to ooze through the rags that I hold over it. The rags are soaked.

 

Even the grass beneath the tree knows the taste of blood …

 

… but the tree won’t understand.

 

This is a fine day for sitting, and for thinking. How many of us know what we are fighting for? How many know who we are fighting against? We fight for no good reason, except that we are told to fight. Those that we fight could as easily be our neighbors as our enemies. Yet we hack and slash and kill those that we have no reason to hate; fighting and killing and dying for the whims of some noble.

 

I watch a man who I had met last night crash to the ground with a cry …

 

… but the ground can’t understand.

 

The battle is going badly for us, and I watch my friends fall one by one. They are proud men; strong men; brave men who would fight until they could fight no more. But they could be proud at home, with their families, watching a new child take it’s first step. They could be strong in the fields growing crops or strong in the shops making horse shoes or plow blades or axe heads. They could be brave facing a storm without shelter, or protecting a neighbor from a wild animal. But they are here; these proud, brave, strong men.

 

They are here to die beneath a sky which has only now begun to weep for them …

 

… but even the sky doesn’t understand.

 

 

The ground is cool and the grass feels soft, under the tree beneath the sky. The battle is almost over, and the outcome assured; we have lost. I need no longer watch, for I have seen all that needs to be seen. A warm breeze blows across my face toward the carnage of the battlefield. I can smell the scent of wild flowers in the wind and it makes me smile. I can feel the wetness on my cheeks which must have come from tears, but I don’t remember crying. I think of my wife, who waits for my return. I think of my children, playing in a field like the one before me used to be. I think of the nobles who demanded that this war be fought. I think of the men whose blood now colors the meadow.

 

Darkness begins to fall in the middle of the day as I think …

 

… And I don’t understand, either.

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