Captain: Flashback

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Flashback which will hopefully someday be part of a full novel on Captain Kestrel Monterra, one of my first and favourite characters. Her adventures from joining the army right up to her death are planned out in my head but not many of them are written down. Set in a fantasy world several centuries (roughly) behind ours where they are just starting to discover firearms etc.

Submitted: March 25, 2008

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Submitted: March 25, 2008

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April 1578 Osta
 
The war in Osta was becoming more and more dangerous. The rebels were fighting with a new ferocity sensing the capitol city to be within their reach. Aria had stepped up the number of regiments serving around the capitol leaving the forts on the border at only half strength.
The 13th Northern Battalion had been sent to Kuanalou a crucial fort guarding the pass through the Shea Mountains, which divided the country in half. Under Captain Juan Jared’s commanded they sent raiding parties deeper and deeper into enemy held territory, with the patrols often spending days away from the fort, deep in the mountains.
It was a risky system. Sending out patrols so far a field meant that the fort was often left with a meagre garrison and Captain Jared was relying on the frequent patrols to keep the rebels away from the main fort.
Kestrel didn’t mind the danger. Osta was where she had made her reputation and the guerrilla style of fighting suited her. Despite being a mounted battalion, in the mountains the 13th were almost forced to fight on foot, a new style of fighting for a lot of them which meant that in between patrols there was almost constant training.
 
“Come on put some energy into.” Juan’s battle trained voice rang out across the small parade ground, as he paced between the pairs of soldiers. 
Kestrel landed a well placed blow on her opponents back and then skipped out of the way. Using the momentary respite to brush her long hair back off her face and wipe the sweat from her forehead. She parried another blow and then aimed a kick at her opponent’s chest, a kick designed to knock him off balance rather than to do any damage.
Hand to hand combat was just another new skill that General Asaiah, the commander in Osta had decided the regiments should learn. Juan was rather scathing of the idea. He was an exceptional swordsman and an excellent shot with a rifle, but like Kestrel he didn’t excel when it came down to brute strength.
“…and remember it’s just an exercise!” Juan continued hurriedly, as he spotted two of his soldiers locked together, neither one willing to yield. “I don’t want any broken bones!”
Kestrel tried another kick and she felt her opponent catch hold of her foot and twist, next moment she hit the ground hard, with all the breath knocked out of her. Before she could recover her opponent had grabbed her arms and pinioned them to the ground, whilst kneeling on her legs to stop her kicking.
“Do you yield lieutenant?” He asked good humouredly and when Kestrel didn’t answer straight away he squeezed her wrists a little tighter.
“Come on! Don’t make me do something you’ll regret!”
“Like what?” Kestrel challenged, trying to wriggle her legs free whilst distracting her opponent. 
“Like this!” He said with a laugh, leaning down and kissing her on the lips.
Furiously Kestrel arched her back and kicked hard; managing to throw him off her legs and when he rolled aside she sprang back onto her feet. Her opponent was doubled up on the floor laughing and put up no resistance when Kestrel pinned his arms and legs in turn.
“Do that again Zack and I’ll have you flogged for insulting an officer!” Kestrel said furiously but her eyes sparkled with laughter as she held the young soldier down and refused to let him up.
“I yield! I yield!” Zack managed to choke out the words whilst still laughing. 
Reluctantly Kestrel relaxed her grip and he sat up, still with a wide grin on his face. The fights around them were coming to an end and as Zack scrambled to his feet he announced his victory to the others.
“Told you I’d be the first in the battalion to get a kiss!” He shouted gleefully, dodging behind one of the other soldiers when Kestrel started to advance threateningly on him. “No girl can resist me!”
“That’s enough Zack!” Juan said sternly as he walked over but Zack wasn’t finished.
“You owe me 10 Desatas, sir!” He told his commanding officer loudly. “It was a fair bet, sir!”
This sent all the rest of the soldiers off into gales of laughter whilst Kestrel rounded on her Captain. 
“Bet?” She asked heatedly. “You had a bet about who could kiss me first?”
“It wasn’t my idea.” Juan defended himself hastily backing away from Kestrel which just amused the soldiers even more.
Kestrel narrowed her eyes at her commanding officer, who was trying desperately not to laugh and had backed off so that there were several metres between them.
“How about I get the 10 Desatas…” She said to Zack. “If I beat the Captain in a fair fight?”
“Deal!” Zack crowed delightedly at which point the rest of the battalion started making bets on who was going to win.
Juan laughed again and shrugged ruefully.
“Well I loose the 10 Desatas either way.” 
“I’ll pay you back if you manage to beat me.” Kestrel challenged and the two of them slowly began to circle.
Kestrel was at a big disadvantage because she had been fighting already that morning and she was also lighter and had a slimmer build than the Captain. But in Kestrel’s eyes the extra fighting practice she had had was an advantage and she was the first one to attack.
It was like they were performing in a theatre, pretty soon the soldiers had gathered around them in a circle and were cheering on whoever they had put money on to win. Several times they tangled and then broke apart. At one point Juan knocked Kestrel off her feet and it looked like it was going to win but he hesitated for a crucial second before going to pin her down and Kestrel had enough time to roll clear.
The fight lasted almost twenty minutes and by the end the battalion was hoarse from shouting. Even the guards up on the ramparts kept glancing over their shoulders to watch and Captain Arielle, the Ostan officer at the fort had come out to see what was happening. Kestrel managed to trip Juan and even before he had the ground she had twisted so that she came down on top of him. Like Zack had on her, she used her knees to pinion Juan’s legs and then grabbed hold of his wrists and after a moments struggle pinned them to the ground as well.
Juan went limp and Kestrel grinned at him.
“Care to explain why you made that bet?” She questioned suavely.
“Because I’m an idiot?” Juan said ruefully.
“Because he wanted to snog you!” Yelled someone from the crowd and Juan tried to twist his head to glare at whoever it was.
“He’s blushing!” Someone else crowed, safe in the knowledge that the Captain couldn’t see who it was.
“Aw, you are as well!” Kestrel said mischievously and she bent her head and kissed him very lightly on the lips before rolling aside.
There were laughs and catcalls from the battalion as Juan scrambled to his feet and started to yell at them to clear away the equipment, keeping his head firmly turned away from Arielle who was leaning against the wall with a smug smile on his face.
At last he turned back to Kestrel who was helping pack the practice swords they had been using earlier back into the crates.
“Well fought Lieutenant.” He told her with a smile, holding out his hand for her to shake. “I’ll give you you’re Desates later.”
“No need.” Kestrel smiled back. “Captain Arielle already owes me 15 Desates.”
“For what?” 
“For beating you in the fight!”
Juan swung round but Arielle had already disappeared back inside the barracks.
 
A patrol returned that evening bringing news of the mountains to the east. They reported them to be unusually quiet; the patrol had been out for three days and had seen nothing of the enemy. 
“Suspicious!” Juan said, almost enthusiastically, when they told him this. “You think they’re planning something?”
“Not in the east.” The patrol leader, Lieutenant Karl Brenoc, said firmly. 
“In the west then.” Juan mused. “We better send out another patrol!”
Brenoc just nodded and glanced at Juan’s left eye where a purple bruise was just becoming visible. Juan followed his gaze and put up a hand to touch the bruise.
“Ask Lieutenant Monterra.” He said ruefully in answer to the unasked question.
“You want me to lead the patrol?” Brenoc offered but Juan shook his head.
“No, no I’ll lead it. You can stay here on fort duty for a few days.”
Kestrel who was sitting close enough to hear this last remark turned round with a slight frown on her face.
“I can lead the patrol, sir. You don’t need to go.”
“I want to go.” Juan said firmly. 
“But sir…” The two Lieutenants started together, and Kestrel let Brenoc continue. 
“You’re in charge of this whole area, wouldn’t it be better if…”
“I hid inside the fort and let someone else face all the danger?” Juan said distastefully.
“Yes.” Brenoc replied bluntly but Juan just shook his head again.
“General Asaiah…” Kestrel started but Juan cut her off.
“General Asaiah told me to stay safely inside the fort. Yes I know, but if you ever become a Captain Kes then you’ll realise what a difficult command that is to follow.”
“What if there’s trouble…” Brenoc tried again.
“If there’s trouble then I would much prefer to be the one leading the patrol than for it to be one of you.” Juan said with an air of finality in his voice. “Kestrel I’ll take your patrol soldiers…”
“I’m coming as well!” Kestrel broke in.
“Fine. Karl, you and Captain Arielle will be in joint command of the fort whilst we are gone.”
“How many soldiers?” Kestrel queried and Juan thought for a moment before replying.
“Twelve.”
Kestrel and Brenoc both opened their mouths to protest but Juan scowled and they both closed them again with out saying anything.
“Twelve will be plenty. We’re not going looking for a fight, we’re going scouting.”
 
Two days later Kestrel was lying on a rocky bluff trying to get some sleep. It was bitterly cold up in the mountains and for two days they had travelled steadily upwards searching for some sign of the enemy. That evening Kestrel had argued with the Captain about when they would start back down the mountain and Juan had agreed that if by noon the next day they hadn’t seen anything they would go back.
Juan seemed disappointed not to have found something and his slightly reckless nature would have had them search up and down the slopes until they did. Normally Kestrel would not have been against this idea but it was cold and some of the soldiers were already starting to suffer from mild exposure – going higher would have been too dangerous for them all.
At last giving up on getting any sleep, Kestrel sat up and stared around her until she made out the pickets on the edges of the bluff, surrounding the sleeping men. They had chosen the place so that they could hold the highest ground and command a good view of the surrounding area but it was horribly exposed to the wind and Kestrel guessed that not many people were sleeping.
“Not tired Lieutenant?” Juan had come up behind and now he sat down, trying to blow some warmth onto his numb hands. “I’ll admit I’ll be glad when we can get back down to somewhere a bit warmer.”
“Staying up here was you’re idea sir!” Kestrel reminded him as she stared out into the darkness. “I can’t see the appeal of the place at all.”
“I seem to remember it was you advising that we should make sure our position wasn’t overlooked!”
“Oh yeah.” Kestrel said softly, continuing to stare into the darkness. 
She couldn’t shake the feeling that something was not right. But the pickets were alert and despite her misgivings they were in a good position. Still she continued to stare into the darkness on the right. Could she hear something? Or was it just the pickets shifting position?
“Are you alright Kes?” Juan asked and she caught a note of tension in his voice, he too was starting to pick up on something.
In fact all around them soldiers were moving and softly reaching for the reassurance of their weapons.
“We should stand to.” Kestrel said suddenly, more sharply than she had meant to. “Captain I think…”
But Juan hadn’t needed her to justify herself he had already hissed the order and those nearest had taken it up so that soon all 12 soldiers were awake and armed, forming a circle facing out into the dark.
“On the right.” Juan murmured and Kestrel nodded in agreement, sure know that she could see shadows moving in the darkness.
“We should move.” Juan made a split second decision. “We shouldn’t have been up here in the first place, we were better off down in the ravine.”
“If we’d stayed in the ravine they would have been able to creep up on us whilst we slept.” Kestrel pointed out. “At least now we’ve seen them.”
Juan didn’t reply but he sent round the whispered command to start moving down the left hand slope. It was almost impossible to do it in silence so instead Juan ordered them to do it fast. He and Kestrel stayed near the back and as they started down they could hear the sounds of the enemy moving round the bottom of the bluff to try and cut them off.
“There’s going to be a fight.” Juan predicted. “They’re going to catch us as we reach the ravine.”
He was right. The soldiers slipped and slid down the slope and just as they reached the safety of the ravine there were shouts and gunshots from behind them.
“Into the rocks!” Juan ordered and he indicated the rough semicircle of rocks that would provide them with a bit of shelter. “There can’t be more than about 10 of them so we’ll just have to fight them off!”
Even as he was saying this he was looking down the ravine towards the steep path that would lead back to the fort. It was impossible; they all knew they could never make it back down with enemies behind them.
“Dawn’s only a couple of hours off.” Someone muttered. “They’ll wait for the light!”
And sure enough there was no attack and the patrol remained on full alert sitting tensely as they waited for the dawn that would reveal the enemy.
It came at last; a faint grey light that at first showed them nothing but rocks and then the light grew slightly stronger.
“Hell’s breath.” Juan swore, and he nudged Kestrel and pointed towards the slope where they had just come from.
What Kestrel had taken to be clumps of rocks were actually rebel soldiers, dressed in grey and armed with an odd assortment of weapons.
“Sixteen!” Juan groaned as he counted the soldiers crouched on the slope. 
Now some of the others had spotted them as well, but more and more people were starting to point to the other end of the ravine and as she looked over Kestrel felt her heart sink. Sixteen they might have managed but on the other side of them were another ten or so soldiers and many of them were armed with rockets that would be lethal in the enclosed space.
“I think we might be in trouble!” Juan whispered, quietly enough that no one except Kestrel could hear and to stress the point he glanced behind them at the sheer rock face, clearly wondering whether it was possible to climb it.
The enemy soldiers were stirring now and after a moment two of them stood up and approached the rocks where the patrol was hiding. They had tied a scrap of white cloth to a branch and they held it in front of them.
Juan waved down the few rifles that went up onto people’s shoulders. Only about half the patrol was aimed with rifles, the rest carried pistols and everyone had a long sword belted at their waist.
“What do you want?” Juan shouted when the enemy soldiers were within a few metres of the nearest rocks. “Have you come to surrender?”
There was an appreciative laugh from some of the patrol and to Kestrel’s surprise the enemy soldiers laughed as well.
“Captain Jared is that you?” The taller one, who appeared to be an officer, shouted cheerfully back. 
Juan scowled as he recognised the voice and he mouthed the name to Kestrel. Fenir – the Arian major who had defected to the other side in exchange for a large amount of money.
“It is isn’t it?” Fenir continued. “What an honour, the man who took over my old job! And a remarkable soldier too by all accounts.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you’d seen him beaten by a girl!” Zack shouted out, raising another laugh from the patrol.
Juan glared Zack into silence and then returned his attention to Fenir.
“Well, have you come to surrender?” He demanded. “Or do you want to change sides again?”
“Surrender?” Fenir replied scornfully. “Hardly. I was about to offer you the chance to do that!”
“I thought the rebels didn’t accept surrenders?” Juan snapped back.
“I’m bending the rules Captain!” Fenir continued cheerfully. “If you surrender I will allow you to live. I might even allow your soldiers to live as well! Of course you will be prisoners but surely that’s better than a painful death.”
Juan clenched his fists in fury and there were murmurs throughout the patrol. Kestrel looked at Juan and raised an eyebrow. There was something to be said for Fenir’s offer and she didn’t want Juan to openly reject the idea.
“Twenty-six against twelve!” She mouthed to him and Juan’s shoulder’s sagged as for the first time he considered if the offer was worth taking.
“You won’t be that badly treated!” Fenir went on, clearly relishing the moment. “A few bumps and bruises perhaps. Although…” He grinned in triumph. “I hear you have a female lieutenant who might provide a bit of entertainment.”
Kestrel flinched without even meaning to and many of the patrol members shouted in anger, as Fenir took a step closer apparently to try and look over the rocks and see if it was true.
“Go to hell Fenir!” Juan snarled, and he rested a protective hand on Kestrel’s shoulder. 
Fenir laughed and backed away again, and his waiting soldiers laughed as well.
“To the death then!” He shouted in Juan’s direction. “And yours will be as painful as I can make it! You here that…” He continued, rounding on his troops. “The Captain is mine!”
Before Juan could say anything, Zack had raised his pistol and put a bullet between the shoulder blades of Fenir’s companion. Fenir snarled in anger but he ducked back behind the rocks and shouted for his soldiers to advance.
Juan started snapping orders and the patrol moved into defensive formation. In the centre of the ring the patrol was creating, Tori bought out a flare and lit the tail so that it streaked into the sky scattering red sparks. It was an almost futile gesture, no one would be able to reach them in time for a rescue and they wouldn’t even be able to tell where they were.
When they had first been issued the flares, Juan had said scathingly that they were more like a goodbye message than a call for help. Bet you’re wishing you hadn’t said that now, Kestrel though to herself, drawing her own pistol and crouching next to where Juan had positioned himself. 
The first wave of soldiers was far from cautious. Buoyed up by their leader’s speech they charged the rocks with swords already drawn, a few of them paused to shoot their rifles but most charged straight into the hail of bullets that the patrol released. One or two made it to the edge of the rocks where their swords clashed with those of the patrol and the ring of steel on steel filled the ravine.
Forced back, the first wave of attackers gave way to another which advanced more slowly, ducking and weaving away from the bullets. But the patrol knew what to do. They slackened up their rate of fire, saving the bullets until the enemy was within a metre of the rocks and then they cut them down at point blank range.
But it couldn’t last. The patrol was not armed for a long fight, they hadn’t enough bullets and they hadn’t the fire power. The rifles were good for sniping at long range but they were slow to reload and it was made harder because the soldiers were forced to keep their heads down to hide from the fierce fire that was now coming from the enemy.
Fenir’s rebels had taken the first casualties and at that point it looked like the patrol actually had a chance. They held the better position and they had managed to fend off the first attacks. In a drawn out fight the rifles would be able to pick off the enemy soldiers whilst the rocks protected them form most of the enemy fire.
But then came the rockets. They shot down the ravine, bursting off the walls and although they were not normally particularly dangerous they wreaked havoc in the enclosed space. They scorched and burned and when soldiers leapt up to try and put out the flames they became the target of the enemy fire. And then, more by chance than anything else, one of the rockets smashed into a pile of rifle ammunition and bullets flew in all directions, taking down members of the patrol and causing the first real injuries on Juan’s side.
Kestrel gave a strangled shout as she saw a rocket smash into the rocks behind which Zack had been sheltered. Automatically the young soldier jumped up away from it and he had a smile of relief on his face as the rocket shot past. Kestrel opened her mouth to shout at him to get down but it was too late, a hail of bullets smashed into his chest and he crumpled to the ground.
Kestrel emptied her pistol in the direction of the enemy that had fired and Zack then dropped down to reload. She realised she had tears on her cheek and she brushed them angrily away. She had seen friends killed before but she had never seen a fire fight like this. People were screaming, shouting orders, she had lost sight of Juan in the smoke of battle but she could hear his voice even over the whine of the rockets.
And then things fell quiet. The enemy had fired all the rockets they had and now they drew back slightly. The gun shots petered out as both sides stopped firing and started to assess the damage. At least 7 rebels lay dead and still more were badly injured but Fenir could afford to loose them. On Juan’s side the rockets had taken their toll.
As well as Zack two other soldiers lay dead and another one was dieing, a bullet lodged deep in his lung. Many were badly burnt, or had taken bullet wounds to the arms or legs. Juan crawled over to Kestrel without raising his head above the level of the rocks. He had a bad burn on his cheek but otherwise seemed uninjured.
The remaining members of the patrol were closing up the circle and making it smaller. Many checked their swords because in their hearts they all knew that this was it, from now on it really would be a fight to the death.
The rebels seemed to have bough drums with them because now they set up a steady beat and Fenir’s laugh rose loud above the sound.
“Still there Captain?”
Juan opened his mouth to reply but Kestrel hit him lightly on the arm. There was no need to start a verbal fight with Fenir again. Juan scowled at her for a second and then shrugged. He looked around at the others and put a finger to his lips indicating that none of them should answer. Normally this would have started off a series of mocking imitations and jokes but now everyone was silent.
The drums beat louder and louder as the enemy soldiers advanced and Kestrel clicked the safety catch off her pistol.
“Bring it on!” She hissed loud enough for the rest of the patrol to hear and there were murmurs of agreement.
“Told you we should have a war cry.” One of them said to Juan, referring back to an earlier argument.
Juan gave a half hearted smile and glanced over his shoulder where the enemy were starting to emerge out of the fog.
“Anyone have any suggestions?”
It had started as twenty-six against twelve, now it was more like fifteen against eight but still the enemy had the upper hand. There was a distinct rattle as people drew swords from scabbards and then the first guns fired. 
“How about death and glory?” Juan muttered to Kestrel.
“Bit pessimistic isn’t it?” She replied through gritted teeth. 
The enemy was right in front of them and with a wordless yell Juan stood up and ran the nearest one through with his sword. As though it was a signal, people all along the line clashed swords and the real battle had begun. 
It wasn’t about conscious thought; in the middle of battle you have no time to think about your next move, it was just about reacting to the threat. When you look back on it things seem to happen in slow motion, but when you are there everything happens at double speed. Kestrel was barely aware of the people fighting alongside her as she swung her sword down at the enemy. She was vaguely aware that Juan had stepped out from behind the shelter of the rocks and that she had followed him but then she was being pressed back.
They were all being pressed back, the remaining soldiers from the patrol, and in many cases they were dragging their wounded with them. Desperately Kestrel looked for Juan and there he was, in front of all of them but shouting at them to go back against the rock face so that the enemy could not surround them.
Take your own advice, Kestrel was thinking even as she tried to fight her way towards him, but somebody else got there first. Fenir appeared out of the battle fog, brandishing a huge broadsword and snarling like a wolf. Kestrel shouted at Juan to back off, but instead the Captain turned on Fenir with a wild yell. 
The patrol was fighting its way towards Juan now but the enemy had separated them from him. Juan and Fenir were circling as though the rest of the battle did not exist and Kestrel was forcefully reminded of the mock fight back at the fort just days ago. She was forced to look away as the enemy turned on her and when she looked back she could no longer see them.
She was swinging the sword blindly, ducking under blows and then she found Tori beside her and some of the others just behind. The enemy was backing away from them and for just a moment Kestrel thought that they had won.
But then she spotted Juan and Fenir again. They were still fighting but Juan was falling back and the enemy had surrounded the battling leaders, jeering at Juan and cheering on Fenir. Fenir seemed to be shouting something at Juan and he lunged forward, but Juan jerked aside and then in one swift movement stabbed his sword down into Fenir’s back.
It was a killing blow and the crowd surrounding them knew it. With a scream of rage they fell on Juan and he disappeared from view. Kestrel and the others fought their way desperately forward but Kestrel felt as though she was choking – she already knew what they were going to find.
Confronted with their fury the enemy fell back and for the second time a deathly hush fell over the battlefield. Kestrel collapsed to her knees beside Juan and the others – just three of them – formed a protective circle around them. Juan was bleeding from several wounds but the most serious one had been made by a knife that was still imbedded deep in his side. Kestrel put her hand on the knife to pull it out but weakly Juan caught hold of her wrist.
“No.” He whispered and Kestrel realised that the knife was the only thing stopping his blood draining away.
His eyes flickered and struggled to focus on her face, and then a ghost of a smile appeared.
“I never gave you those 10 Desates.”
“Give them to me back at the fort.” Kestrel whispered, trying desperately to stop him talking because every time he did fresh shudders of pain passed through his body.
“In the chest in my room.” Juan managed to say. “If you ever get back there.”
“You can show me.” Kestrel whispered again. “When we both get back.”
Juan grimaced with pain and a bit of blood trickled out the side of his mouth. Kestrel was fighting to stop herself from sobbing out loud as she held onto his body as though that would stop him slipping away.
“You’re a terrible liar.” Juan breathed, then after a slight pause. “You know losing that fight was worth it in the end…”
His voice trailed off but Kestrel knew what he meant and she bent her head and kissed him again, willing his lips to respond. For a moment she felt them move slightly, then Juan let out his last breath and his body went limp.
Kestrel howled with furious rage and she remembered the words of her first ever commanding officer when she had joined the army.
“The reason we don’t have female soldiers is not because they can’t fight, it’s because of the problems they cause when they start falling in love with the other soldiers…”
Kestrel had promised that that wouldn’t happen with her and she had tried to stick by her promise. She had never had a relationship with any soldier in the army, she had flirted yes, but she always made it quite clear that nothing was ever going to happen. But the rage and grief coursing through her body now told her that despite her best efforts she had fallen in love and that it wasn’t the army, but her that had suffered from it.
Her sobs of anger had carried across to the enemy and now the drums started their sullen beat again. But Kestrel wasn’t willing to wait for them to approach. The ravine was still filled with smoke from the guns and the rockets so the enemy couldn’t see her until she was almost on top of them. The others followed her, but Kestrel’s first attack carried her away from them and straight through the enemy line.
She wreaked a terrible retribution on the rebels for the death of Captain Juan Jared. There’s no guessing how long the fight lasted but at the end of it, when the battle fog lifted, Kestrel was alone amongst the bodies.
She was badly injured, her mind was wondering and for the next two days she drifted in and out of consciousness. Everyone said that she should have died, she had lost too much blood, she was exposed to freezing temperatures and had virtually no water. But when Arielle’s patrol reached the ravine two days later she was still breathing and just three weeks after that she was ready for active service again.
They erected a monument to the members of the patrol, with their names carved into white marble. But Kestrel rarely visited it and once she returned to Aria she never went back. She hid the memory of the ravine at the back of her mind and left it there. She never told the story, except once to Captain Arielle, but somehow everybody heard of the young Lieutenant who had refused to die and of the price the enemy had to pay for the lives of her friends.
 


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