Monday, August 15, 2011

A Musing upon Pennsic XL, August 2011


To travel far from home for to make war.
To make camp with strangers soon to be brothers and sisters.
To waken to a warrior’s call.
To put on armor which could save your life, and take up arms which may take life from those who oppose you.
To march toward a place of battle, exultant in hope of victory, not knowing what may come to pass.
To assemble on a field of battle and wonder what fate awaits you.
To ponder whether any living is left to you.
To consider the fate of your child and your loving wife, in your absence.
To gaze across an open place and see many massed against you and your comrades, and wonder how your fates will be met.
To mass shoulder to shoulder with new companions and hope to preserve at least one of their lives.
To hasten, and to wait.
To hear the call to battle, and look out upon the place where so many will meet in conflict.
To run toward an uncertain fate, keeping pace, listening for orders, observing the fluid motion of masses of warriors moving to take the best advantage.
To hear warriors’ yells and the crash of weapons all about you.
To see your comrades fall and move to take their place, swinging your weapon and shielding yourself from enemy blows.
To feel your racing heart and the heat of your own exertions, coupled with the mid-day heat.
To rest, but only briefly, wanting only to hurry back to find your brothers in arms.
To gaze out again upon the remains of your army and the one it opposes, and wonder, again, how the battle may end.
To crash headlong, again, into the thick of fighting.
To see blows coming, and feel the one which ends the battle for you.
To fall among the ranks and lie on the ground, waiting for the end.
To hear the cheers when victory is won.

To return to camp after a hard-fought battle, and shed your armor.
To drink and eat and share tales of loss and victory.
To miss one’s common life with a physical pain, yet hardly remember its comforts.

To finally journey toward home, and find that it seems a new and strange place, though thoroughly familiar.

To have spent many days on a plain without shade, and finally find oneself among the hills of home.
To arrive in cool woods in a mountain retreat, and know the calming refreshment they grant.

For a woodsman, to have fought a battle in a forest, but not remember what manner of trees sheltered him, for there was not time to consider even a lily.

The warrior’s heart must be one of exaltation and of deep sorrow. Perhaps the warrior's heart loves peace as does no other.

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