“Do you know why we train, recruits?” the instructor asked. “Do you know why I waste my time preparing you for the battlefield?”
Used to the man’s misleading questions, they didn’t even bother answering. Looking on at their silence, the man spoke.
“We don’t train so we can inflict loss on our enemies. We do so to ensure that theirs is more than ours”, he revealed.
“Sir, aren’t they the same thing?” one youth couldn’t help but ask.
You fought to kill more of the enemy than they could of you, did you not?
The instructor’s face was dark. “You’d think so, wouldn’t you?”
“There are four things to be found on the battlefield”, he started.
“The first two you know already; Glory and Death! The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. There is no war without both and no side that does not reap the two. Do not make the mistake of thinking that death is for the losers and glory, the winners. I repeat, no side is without glory or death. Your task as soldiers will be to reap more of one and give the other to your foes. As to which to do and to whom, anyone who needs me to tell them better step out of rank and leave immediately!”
The grizzled veteran glowered at the assembled youth for a few seconds but none stepped out. No one was that foolish. Seeing that, he continued.
“The last two are loss and fervour. You simply cannot do without them. Stepping onto the battlefield is the same as accepting loss and embracing battle fervour. Men are broken by the loss, others lose themselves to the fervour. You’ve never seen true war until you’ve seen someone driven to despair by loss or mad by battle lust. Either will lead to more loss. Even after you leave the battlefield, the battlefield might into necessarily leave you.”
“That is why we train. To reduce their effect. To prepare for what we’ll face. So that when you lot step on the battlefield, you’ll actually be useful as more than fodder. Your training will ensure your heads remained screwed on straight and that you know your purpose on the battlefield. It will ensure that we lose less. I will try to make sure that you and any who’ll rely on you don’t die or come back wishing they did. That is the hope and the goal of training. We fight to win but we train so we do not lose. Remember that!” the grizzled man said.
Vorm Steelborn looked ahead at their instructor, his face troubled but listening intently. He’d carry this lesson with him for the rest of his life.
This is something new. Well, not really. It is the first time you’re seeing one, though. Basically, I’m giving you a glimpse of what to expect from the published version. Each “Part” has an introduction, a snippet that encapsulates one of the primary themes of what is to come. It can be a poem, a short scene, a letter, a journal entry, etc. This one is the longest so far (BK I, Part II is the shortest ironically). That might change though. sinisterSonnet is brainstorming. He wants to cut it in half and still leave its essence. We’ll see how that goes.
Let me know what you think of it.