Chapter 7: Enough
“For every thinking man who sees such madness, there comes a time he must cry, ‘Enough! I can stand idle no longer!’ Whether it were sin to stand idle so long or not, it is certainly wrong to seek to ignore this impulse.”
Garkhen could not say how long he labored, how many days passed with the constant stream of wounded brought in and healed walking out. Weeks, certainly. Months… if he had been certain what season it had been when they had arrived, perhaps the turning of the leaves would have told him, but it seemed somehow as if the days he spent as a healer were unmeasurable, existing outside the normal flow of time.
But they did eventually end. One evening, just as Lt. Ailill had ordered their little group back to their quarters, a messenger entered the room. He walked over to the elven healer.
“Captain Telarnen requests that Private Garkhen ze’Darkhen’Sem’dor attend him.”
Lt. Ailill arched an eyebrow. “Requests? Very well. Private, you are at the Captain’s service. I assume you are to follow this young soldier.”
The messenger nodded. “If you will, Private.”
Garkhen followed him out. He lead the half-dragon to the west, out of Garnot’s gates and up a hill beyond. It was late in the evening when they set out, and by the time they arrived the moon shed more light on the land than the last rays of sunlight of dusk. A few Company soldiers stood attention at the top of the hill, and the messenger left Garkhen with them. One silently led him forward, up the steps of a small, ruined tower, to where Captain Telarnen was waiting.
“Thank you, Private Aholima. That will be all for the moment,” he said to the soldier who had led Garkhen in.
Once he had left, Garkhen said softly, “You wanted to see me, sir?”
Telarnen nodded. “Yes, Private. Come.” He waved Garkhen forward, then followed as the half-dragon walked out onto some kind of large balcony.
The Captain pointed back at Garnot, where the flash of metal and occasional bursts of magical fire or lightning could still be seen on the bridge. “Our forces are at a stalemate—neither side can bring enough force to bear on the bridge to break through, and neither side can find a way across the Green without the bridge. And so we stay here, both sides sending in good men to die for nothing.”
Telarnen’s voice was soft, but its bitter edge was clear. “So far, my men haven’t had to do the dying yet, but if something does not change soon, we’ll have our turn. And we’ll go out and die, because that’s what we’ve given our word to do. Unless something changes.”
He turned his gaze on Garkhen. “I’ve only met your dragon friend a few times, and every time, it’s taken me a long time to figure out just why he visited. From what I’ve seen, he doesn’t come down out of the mountains for something minor. So I find myself wondering, what part do you have to play in this, Private?”
Garkhen shook his head. “I do not know, sir.” Even as he spoke, he was still looking out on the bridge and the men dying in the darkness upon it.
He shook his head more vigorously. “It is madness, sir. Just… madness.”
Captain Telarnen nodded. “And it will keep going on unless we can put a stop to it.” He sighed. “I apologize, Private Garkhen. I…”
But something had struck Garkhen. He pointed. “Sir, do you see the slope of the land there, on the west of the bridge?”
So, what’s Garkhen realized that all the experienced military minds around him haven’t? Tune in next week to find out!