vineri, 14 martie 2014

“Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered.)”

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

I've never imagined how much a woman's decisions can change the course of history, nor what an impact one person's folly can influence other people's lives. And although no one recalls her name anymore, I don't think there is a person in the realm, peasant or noble who could question her role in this war.
It all began that fateful December night, the night when the first snow fell over the realm.

The air was cold and tiny snowflakes began descending from the sky as the night settled. It was quiet in the village. Almost too quiet, but no one suspected a thing and everyone went to bed early that evening. By midnight nothing would ever be the same.

They thread their way through the woods like wild beasts, masking their footing, so the moment when they reached the dormant village they took everyone by surprise. The poor people never stood a chance, for they were farmers, not warriors. Most of the men died that night, trying to stand for their wives and daughters and those who survived were mutilated for life. They killed babies in their cradles and profaned wives and young girls in their own beds, because that's the unwritten law of war. That's how the awaited war between the Duke and the Marquess began.

Dear Mother,
I lost the count on how many weeks have passed since I haven't seen my children and I barely managed to find a moment to take breath and write you a few lines.
First of all, I wanted to say how relieved I was when I found that father's soldiery wasn't among the ones that invaded the Marquess' domains last week. I know that our family serves the Duke and I even heard rumours about a possible promise from the Duke that he would marry his oldest daughter to Albrecht, as a way to express his gratification for father's loyal service, yet I can't help but feel disquiet about the events that took place this winter.
After the attack, the Marquess called his people and assembled an army to return like for like and, from what I've heard, they're preparing an onslaught. I can't tell you more, for I fear that this letter might get intercepted on its way to you, so I will end it here, by entreating you to be careful and take earth for yourself. I know that father and even Albrecht will be summoned by the Duke and will probably have to go join in his army, so I can only hope that we won't find ourselves on different sides of the barricade.
Yours truly,
Alleken Marie

I knew that the last lines would probably confuse Mother, but I couldn't risk telling her more. After my marriage to Gregory, I have lived on the opposite side of the realm, the territories under the Marquess' trusteeship and although  I don't plan to take part with someone on this fight, I know very well that such a desire is probably pointless, because my husband will likely end up fighting my brother and father.
For now, all I can do is try to alleviate the misery on those poor, pitiable people that are caught in the middle of this 'brotherly' conflict, while trying to ignore the fact that I might actually be among them.

I haven't seen my family since I was called to assist the injured, and that must have been more than two weeks ago, but I know that there is no need for me to worry, because my children are back home with my mother and they are well taken care of. For now. Our town is far from the actual battlefield and I still hope that this conflict will come to a standstill in the next weeks, before more people will lose their lives in vain.