Brothers in Arms

(An entry, one of several, written in a somewhat awkward and stilted version of Nathaniel’s normal hand, with many parts crossed out or obliterated completely. The entries look to have been written at the same time, but are presented separately)

I was not born to war. Unlike many of my schoolboy contemporaries at “the Math”, I never had any desire to go forth and serve in Her Majesty’s armed forces. That was not for want of any patriotic duty; even if I always found that a rather incomprehensible quality. My loyalty has always been to those I consider mine, rather than the more abstract concept of queen and country. It was more that I lacked any desire to engage in the business of war. Such battles as I contemplated took place only in my mind’s eye as I read of Arthurian legends and the plays of the Immortal Bard. On the subject of my loyalty to my friends, it would be very apparent, to any future reader of these pages, that I would die in the defence of my friends. A question that I never really considered before is would I kill for them? The answer, it seems, is yes. It gives me no pleasure to write that, just as it gave me no pleasure to discover that I would, that I have done, in great number, and that I would do so again. I was not born to war, yet in these last few days, I have found a new measure of myself in the defence of my home. There are those who would regard my actions as heroic, glorious even, but I do not see it that way. I did what was necessary, that is all. As I remarked to Maric only a few days ago, you do the job that is in front of you. And of late, that job has been to war.

Walt Whitman once wrote – “The real war will never get in the books”. I am uncertain, in purely technical terms, if what has passed these past few days counts as war in the strictest sense, but for once I am inclined to be lenient with myself in my use of words. This war that I have experienced will make it into the books, even if it is only my diary, whose pages may never be read by any but my own eyes. I am bone-weary, and my right arm is almost lifeless from wielding my sword and other weapons. I can scarce lift my pen, and yet lift it I must, while my memory is fresh. These things should be recorded, lest we forget.

Brothers in Arms


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