A first person POV assignment from a writing class.
|This is related to my other posting (A Commander's Dilemma) and is a convergence of two points of view centered around the same event. This post is a first person POV from the standpoint of Lieutenant Ames.
The village was reported to be a base for rebel factions and a direct threat to the kingdom. Under the cover of night, we maneuvered into position, and according to the plan, once the archers flew the fire arrows into the huts or anything flammable, we would spring into action. Amid the ensuing chaos, we would bring down the thunder on the unsuspecting rebels.
Something was wrong. The battle was over with quickly and we took the village. We suffered only a couple of minor causalities. One actually tripped and hurt his ankle; the other was a lucky poke by a pitchfork. These were not organized forces; they had no armaments to speak of. Only villagers with rudimentary farm equipment rose in anything resembling a defense of the village. In the chaos of the battle, many figures are cut down without question. Only after the fighting was well under way did we realize that we were not destroying organized resistance, but common villagers. I felt like throwing up.
“It is not my place to question orders Commander but what the hell are we doing here?” I asked forgetting other soldiers were within earshot. “This was not a nest of insurgents or rebels to the Crown. We just wasted a village of women, children, and old men.” Dammit, I should have asked that in private.
“Lieutenant, you are not to question orders in front of the men, am I clear?” said Commander Livingstone.
“Yes Commander. I apologize,” I said cursing to myself to the mental lapse.
“We have our orders and they must be followed, you of all people should know that.” The crackling of the fires filled the uncomfortable silence. “You are correct though,” he said quietly. “The King is too far gone at this point to know what is going on, so it appears that prince is exercising his ‘responsibilities’ to keep the realm safe.” I could detect a hint of sarcasm in the Commander’s voice, but dared to not say anything.
The village was in ruin. Many of the old wooden buildings were easily combustible and the fire arrows spread flames to most parts of the village relatively quickly. Many fires still burned as we walked through the remains, obscuring the sky with a haze of smoke and ash. Some of the dead and wounded were old men, probably once soldiers based on some of their antique equipment. They stood no chance against our elite force.
“These men knew they had no chance, they tried to buy some time for their families,” said Commander Livingstone. “Their sacrifice was noble. There are no rebels here.”
“They probably served the Crown in the past. Look at his sword,” I gestured to the rusted sword that last saw combat decades before. “That was not made by any village blacksmith.” Commander was right, this was a waste. “They did not deserve this,” I sighed.
One of the villagers moaned slightly. Commander immediately strode over to check on the wounds. There was significant blood loss, but the wound did not appear to be mortal. I hoped he would pull through. He was not the enemy that the Prince claimed. I’ve heard about the prince from some of the others, but for the first time I felt disillusioned with everything.
“Get all the wounded and move them over the river. See what we can do for them,” said Commander Livingstone finally, breaking me from my thoughts. “Form a burial detail for the dead. I want this village searched from top to bottom for any information that may be of use. Carry on.”
“Yes, Sir!” I saluted and went to gather some of men to carry out these orders.