Reason?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Based off a dream I had.

Submitted: July 03, 2012

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Submitted: July 03, 2012

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The two approached each other on a worn dirt path, small clouds of dust appearing around their feet. One, on the left, a young man, happy, wide eyed, smiling and excited. In his hands he held a flintlock rifle, a military uniform covering his body. He walked the path, towards the battle, towards excitement, eager to live and become a hero by doing his duty. The other, however, was old, grizzled, white hairs covering his face. A sword was strapped to his back, his plate armor was cracked and splintered from multiple blows. Scars crisscrossed his old skin. The two walked, and walked, and walked, until, finally, they passed each other, when the old man stopped and asked.

“Why do you fight?”

The young man stopped, not taking a second to reply, “Because the glory! If I fight I can become a hero!”

Sensing that wasn’t all, the old man probed more. “And what else?”

“For the excitement! A soldiers life is more fulfilling than the life I have at home,” He replied excitedly.

“And what else,” The old man probed once more.

“For the respect! Everyone respects those who do their duty,” The young man yelled with passion now.

“And are these all your reasons?”

“Yeah,” The younger man said, calming himself. Suddenly the older man gave the boy a sad look. Shaking his head he began to speak again.

“I used to be like you when I walked this path, so long ago. But I quickly learned, that not everyone lives long enough on that field to gain glory. Those who do understand that glory is such an empty thing, and attempting to earn it will only end in your quick demise.”

“Okay old man, even if that were true there would still be the excitement and respect,” The younger man dismissed what his elder was saying, but before he could turn and walk he continued.

“The excitement you would feel is actually your desire to leave that field, to get out while you can before the enemy can dispatch you. It is your blood coursing through your veins as arrows pour like rain around you, or the surge in your arms as you are pummeled relentlessly as you stand against a charge. If you wish to feel that true excitement, turn around right now, and return home, and live.”

The young man now spoke, slightly angry. “If I turn now I’ll be called a coward, who didn’t do the duty he promised. I wouldn’t be respected.”

“You wouldn’t be respected either way. When you return from that field, you know what people will see? Not a man, not a hero, but a killer. It doesn’t matter what you did it for, or why, but the people will always see you as such.”

“Okay then old man! If you know all this then what did you fight for?”

He was quiet for a moment. “I learned, that like all true warriors, that one should fight for peace, so those around him may live safely, instead of him gaining some abstract, trivial thing.” The old man turned and began walked away, away from the field of battle where the young man strode to. He called back to him. “Even if you don’t heed my words now, young man, you will learn their truth. I just hope you can learn it sooner.”

The young man waved his hand in dismissal and entered the fray, as the older man passed out of this existence for eternity......

Years later, the two approached each other on the road. The one on the left was young, wide eyed, smiling bright. He held an automatic rifle in his hands, advanced body armor covering his body. He strode eagerly towards the field of battle before him, as the one on the right approached. He was old, grizzled, his once bright uniform tattered and stained. He leaned upon a battered flintlock rifle like a crutch as he made his way away from the chaos of the land behind him. But, as the two walked, and walked, and walked, he stopped next to his junior.

“Hey, kid,” He said slowly. “Why do you fight?”


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