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Making up the balance
Fri Jun 23, 2006 08:06 (XFF:

Jonas knelt down, more like falling down. The day was nearing it’s end, the dead lay covering the beach around him. The landing of the Black Tower had taken it’s toll, like always it was a toll in blood. Of his twelve nine remained. They were standing close by, exhausted. The Seanchan had finally retreated. What was to be a quiet landing that would not be contested had been a rather large skirmish. The question now plaguing the mind of those on the beach was, had it been bad luck or was there more going on? For now Jonas didn’t care either way. The ground around him was soaked in blood. His own, that of his enemies, but most importantly that of the ones under his command.

Sitting there, his knees in the bloody sand, he took it all in. The smell of salt mixed with blood and excrement. A soft breeze swept down from the inlands. It felt refreshing against his face. It felt like the Creator wanted to blow away the stench of the day, but didn’t have the power to do so. The bodies of the fallen lay sprawled about, limbs stood at impossible angles, pierced with arrows or swords, some bodies were blasted beyond recognition. Jonas had seen battle before, but always at a small scale. In the Borderlands you always had to keep the creatures of the Dark One at bay. A band of more then a hundred Trollocs had not been seen since the Trolloc wars. Here the dead lay in their hundreds, and the real battle had to start yet.

Saraid, Edab and Fical. That had been their names. Jonas etched them onto his soul. Slowly he got to his feet and motioned to his men to follow. They looked like they had already fought the Last Battle. They also looked ten years older than the nervous boys they were when still on the boats. The few wounds they had would be Healed when they set up camp, but some wounds were unseen. It would be a good lesson, some of the Asha’man would say, to see a bit of battle before the one that counted came. Jonas agreed with them on that, but why were it always the young ones that paid the butchers bill.

Jonas gathered up his flock and followed the slow train of men into the dunes. A camp of some sort was forming for the night. Rows of black tents, neatly organized in strait lines formed the centre. On the edges trenches were dug and guards were already posted. The first of the supplies from the ships had been brought ashore and were now filled along the north side of the camp. At the entrance from the beach several Healers had set up shop and were taking care of the wounded. Jonas and his men lined up here, even minor wounds could become big so better to take care before moving on to rest. As they stood a file of fresh Soldiers and Trainees walked by. Smiling faces, just arrived at the camp all pumped up for the coming fight. Ingmar scowled at them.

‘Fresh meat…’

Jonas cuffed him around the ears. ‘Just as fresh as you were not a day ago, Ingmar.’ The Soldier looked at him and another scowl formed on his face. ‘It’s your task, and with that I mean all of you, to make them believe his is not some kind of game. They will find out soon enough, but they deserve a fair warning that war is not as glorious as all of you thought it would be.’

Jonas left it at that, but his men seemed to have understood the message. After the Healers tent’s a Master-sergeant Asha’man directed them to a tent and gave them a guard shift. As was to be expected Jonas and his squad had the dog’s watch in the middle of the night.

They settled their stuff and Jonas gave his men leave to get some sleep. Jonas himself went back outside, though he felt exhausted the faces of the dead kept drifting through his head.

Saraid, Edab and Fical. Though the day had cost many men their lives Jonas could only think of these three. Even in the Void they snuck up on him as he sought a quiet place to think. Lost in though he wandered the campsite, crisscrossing between the tents. His mind kept telling his all the men here chose to be in the Black Tower, but his heart kept saying otherwise. Most of these boys were no older than his sons would be it they had still lived, they should be safely working the land of their fathers, tending to the cows and pigs. Finally he settled down in the supply camp, hidden behind some crates filled with weapons and armor. Hidden from the world in which this army would march again, only a few hours away awaited another battle against the Seanchan. This had only been a small skirmish in a much bigger war that raged along the whole western world.

Jonas cupped his head in his hands en closed his eyes, burning away the images of the dead deep inside the Void.

  • Iron clad death came thundering down the shiny sandsDedicated Jonas Baleshire, Mon Jun 19 09:03
    As the men of the Black Tower and their allies rushed onto the beach the Seanchan horses came thundering down on them. A cavalry charge, iron clad horses ridden by iron clad men swinging axes and... more
    • Making up the balance — Dedicated Jonas Baleshire, Fri Jun 23 08:06
      • Reassessing valuesDedicated Jonas Baleshire, Sat Jun 24 10:18
        Jonas drifted in the black emptiness that was the Void. The ever expanding nothing reached as far as his senses could reach, enveloping him in clear, blissful oblivion. Nothing could though him as... more
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