Pointless Wrath

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic


Why do we go to war? Because we're told to? For glory? For adventure? Or is it because of pointless wrath?

Submitted: May 21, 2018

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Submitted: May 21, 2018

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The sun was setting, but still the dull thump of artillery in the distance. It wasn’t their artillery...no. Their artillery hadn’t worked or did little damage in any case. Their guns equally as useless, against the monsters the enemy rode upon.

Roswitha was the only one left alive that she knew of, from her regiment. They hadn’t lasted two hours against the Thutrean, as the government had called them. They had been marched out several nights before and had built their defences upon a small bank, with all cannon pointed where the enemy supposedly would come from. It didn’t matter.

Two hours…All gone.

The last time she had seen anyone from her regiment had been three hours before. They had been harassed by the enemies steel birds. How were they expected to fight against an enemy that had harnessed the air? Then there were the monsters that crawled on tracks, firing guns that didn’t need to be reloaded after one shot. The worst were the strange soldiers who carried weapons that shook apart her comrades, with nothing but sound.

The Thutrean monsters must have gotten in front as she came across one of the many gun bunkers that had been set up. Several soldiers of the Cheaniel army lay dead, but not one Thutrean. She also noticed than none of her fallen countrymen had been touched. Normally if you killed an enemy soldier, you would loot the corpse, but they had been left as they were.

Roswitha decided then that she would stay in this bunker for that night. She didn’t think the enemy would come back, there was nothing here of any use to them anyway. Why leave her comrades untouched?

The inside was no better than the outside. More dead soldiers, scorch marks, bullet holes. Roswitha came across one of the gun batteries, deserted. One had blown up. It’s back end twisted and warped, thrown outward. She placed down her musket to inspect the destroyed cannon and stopped. Her heart began to pound. Sat against the wall beside the cannon was one of the Thutrean footsoldiers. The round glass eye pieces of the mask it wore, were locked on her. It didn’t move, not even when she accidentally kicked a piece of broken cannon which clattered off into the dark.

It was dead and the stink of blood hung over it. She spied a shard of the cannon barrel jutting from it’s neck and had partially severed the pipe that connected the mask to an armoured box, that hung from the dead soldiers chest. It too had shards of metal sticking out. The soldier’s left arm hung loosely, dislocated. Most likely from being thrown back. A faint light blinked from the box. It didn’t last long, for it died shortly after.

The Thutrean was dead, that meant it couldn’t hurt her. So, Roswitha decided she would get a better look at her enemy, possibly even learn something about them. She firstly looked over it’s uniform, which was nothing more than wool, dyed in a base green, with brown and grey spots. The mask and helmet were similarly painted. It was no wonder why the Cheaniel forces hadn’t seen them, they blended into the trees and bushes.

She didn’t know what the mask was for or what the now broken box did, but she wanted to know. Slowly Roswitha removed the steel helmet, studying it briefly. It was light, yet she had witnessed one take a musket ball and the soldier wearing it lived. It looked like a coal-scuttle found in most homes. Roswitha placed it on her own head finding her vision obscured, as it was too big for her.

Next she tried at removing the mask. She tugged at it several times hoping it would release. It didn’t. The mask not coming off, so she turned her attention to the rest of the body. With a few slices of her foraging knife, Roswitha removed the strange armoured box from the cross-belt and hose attached to it. She pried open the front with some effort and it’s innards were just as confusing as the soldier itself.

Wires of copper, metallic cannisters and where the hose met the box were several strange wafers. What they were or what they did, again was beyond her.

Placing the box on the floor, she decided that it might be worth seeing if this soldier had anything in it’s pockets.

On it’s belt there were several pouches filled with conical bullets, five of them to a single strip of metal. They weren’t lead like those of her musket and they were contained in metal also. How was the thing fired? Roswitha thought to herself breaking one of the bullets from the strip.

She let it roll in the palm of her hand.

Where did you come from that, you have such strange weapons and armour?” She asked, thumbing the bullet absently. Surprise took her as the single bullet became two. She ran her thumb across the bullet a second time and a third bullet appeared.

Bullets with in bullets. Am I seeing things or is this magic?” Roswitha dropped the three bullets and turned back to the soldier. The other pockets were filled with half penned letters, written in characters she couldn’t read. One pocket contained a packet of foodstuff, it was sweet to the taste and melted pleasantly in the mouth. It was a little upsetting that she didn’t know what it was, as she would have like to have had more. The last thing Roswitha pulled from the body was a leather wallet. There was no money in it, but images of real life. Not realistic paintings like she was used to seeing, but a slice of life caught on paper.

There were so many to look through. Roswitha took a seat herself, facing the dead Thutrean and started to study the images.

This is what they look like. Not so different are we?” Roswitha mused. She looked over to the corpse, “I thought that maybe you were horrific monsters under the mask.”

She flicked through image after image. Some of them brought a smile to her face for the beings in them were happy, smiling away. She assumed they were the soldiers family and now it was dead, never to see it’s family again. She also assumed that it was the man within the image as he was the only one to appear in most of the images, but then again it could have been the father, brother, husband or lover.

Are you happy? Dying so far from wherever it is you call home. Maybe we could have all been friends, if not for you Thutreans killing. Would you have liked that?” She asked the corpse, not expecting a reply, “I would have, but you are dead. I know, shall we dance?”

Roswitha grinned, then laughed though it was hollow laughter.

I’m a fine dancer, if you must know. Perhaps I shall teach you. First, I think, we must make peace and introduce ourselves,” She smiled, “I am Roswitha Vogt, daughter of Anselm Vogt. Private musketeer of the 37th Marshive foot, serving the Cheaniel Dynasty. Now you sir, can introduce yourself.”

Silence. What was she really expecting from a corpse, a full on conversation? How silly of her. She would continue anyway.

You are being awfully rude, Sir. I might be a soldier, but I am still a lady and you should introduce yourself,” Roswitha sniggered behind her hand, she was having fun albeit at the expense of a corpse.

If you won’t tell me your name, pray tell, where do you come from? What do you want with our lands, our people?”

Still the corpse refused to answer her, what a surprise. A wry smile crossed crossed her lips.

There is another way we could make peace. It would just be between the two of us...oh, we couldn’t do something so scandalous,” Now she was just being vulgar and shook her head, “Who knows, you could be handsome under that mask or you could be hideous, but it doesn’t matter you’re dead and I alive.”

Roswitha exhaled through her nose and dropped the images she held.

Tiredness took hold of her. A few hours would do no harm and what could the dead do to her? She smiled one last time and made herself comfortable against the wall.

Goodnight, dear sir.” Roswitha whispered softly and sleep came to her.

It was a dreamless, restless sleep and did not last. A pained gasp brought Roswitha too. The body of the Thutrean was moving. It’s right hand moved to it’s throat and grasped the length of metal embedded within it. With one sharp tug the Thutrean had removed it and the pained gasping stopped.

Roswitha pressed herself against the wall, hidden by the dark and thanked her God that the now alive Thutrean hadn’t noticed her.

How could it be moving? Now was not the time to answer such a question.

Slowly she reached for her musket and thankfully it was still loaded. The sound of the soldier fumbling brought her attention back to it. It had grasped it’s dislocated arm and with a sickening crack pushed it back into the socket. It rolled it’s shoulder painfully then stopped. Had it noticed her?

No, it hadn’t. It muttered something in it’s own tongue and exhaled. With the flat of it’s palm, the soldier slapped the side of it’s mask several times and growled angrily. It ran a finger around it’s collar and there was a hiss. It then proceeded to pull the damaged mask from it head. Long black hair spilled out, it took a moment to tie it back with a rose coloured ribbon and then looked around the room. It was the male from the images.

The first thing Roswitha noticed was the colour of his skin. Pale white, paler than the fairest moonlight. There was no colour to it.

This, however, was in contrast to his eyes which held the colour of molten-gold. Each eye was in turn surrounded by a ring of black make-up.

Those golden eyes, that were now fixed on her.

Panic flooded her mind and she grabbed from her Musket, levelling it at the Thutrean. It took a step forward, waving it’s hands in a crossing motion. It was trying to communicate.

She wouldn’t communicate back...no, she would kill it. Make sure it was truly dead. Her training kicked in as she stood, pulled the cock into the full position and pulled the trigger.

The almighty bang and the stink of sulphur hit Roswitha, she prayed she hadn’t missed. The smoke cleared and the Thutrean still stood there, with a hand to it’s breast. He looked to where the bullet had struck and back to her. He removed his hand and it was clean. No blood, no wound. She could have sworn an inky black smoke leaked from where the bullet hole should have been.

The Thutrean soldier grimaced and shouted at her. It took two steps forward, grabbed the underside of Roswitha’s musket, dragging her towards him. He struck his head against her putting Roswitha on her backside, with the Thutrean holding the firearm.

He looked down at her and spoke again. His voice was strange and the language stranger still. It was a guttural bark, yet silvery and soft at the same time. It contradicted itself.

He slung the musket over his shoulder and held out a hand.

Roswitha slapped away the hand and reached for her foraging knife. The Thutrean was quicker snatching her wrist, snapping it.

She collapsed to the ground, clutching at her wrist.

The Thutrean sighed and turned. He walked over to one of her fallen countrymen and took from the body it’s cartouche. After crudely fixing it to his belt, he took out a cartridge and began to load the musket.

The Thutrean spoke, whilst going through the process, he sounded remorseful. It then clicked with Roswitha what was going to happen. With her good hand she went for her bayonet, but again the Thutrean was faster and had the musket pointed at her.

He motioned for her to stand up and when she didn’t, the Thutrean grabbed her by the collar and dragged her up. He took a step back, extended his right arm and hand, then raised it up. The soldier followed that with a brief vocal outburst and a snap of his heals.

Roswitha never got the chance to question the gesture or use her bayonet. The Thutrean pulled the trigger and a sharp pain filled her chest.

She tried to scream, but blood filled her mouth, choking her. The last thing she saw was the soldier place down the musket and with the same movement take a thin knife from his boot. His face was grim and with that, she slipped quietly into death.

 

 

 


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