Chapter 2: Letter from Hadrian Herder

5th February 2017

Copyright © 2017 - Christopher Brosnan (Pen name: C. D. Brosnan)

 

Date: End-day, 89.4.839

To my dear father and sister,

As I write this letter myself and almost one-thousand other men are onboard a huge transport ship in a navy of a size outstretching the worth of our quest. We are sailing southward for Dragon Isle, that is supposedly captured by the “ghastly, barbaric, and unenlightened” Malachonians of Sardonia. Personally, though I would not speak of it to our captain or my fellow soldiers and especially not to the priest accompanying us, I do not know of the reason or worth of this quest to capture Dragon Isle. The diminutive island seems to have no profit in it but the name. No life is to be found on the island. Not even the creatures after which it is named now dwell there and its land mass is not even large enough to hold all of us on both sides who are fighting for it.

As each day passes and we find ourselves farther away from home, with more deaths, disease, and bloodshed, I begin to question what I, Althalos, Justinian, and so many of the dead and still surviving young men were told back home in Springhaven. We were told by the local recruitment offices, pamphlet journalists, marching parades and clerics of the temples that all those who died in battle were granted passage to the Golden Fields upon their judgement by the All-Knowing. Having been a witness to the atrocities that I have, having heard the screams that I have, and smelt the the repugnant odours of rotting corpses of all corners of the globe that I have, the words of the temples, marching parades, pamphlets and recruitment officers back home that were once taken for granted by my ignorant and naïve, younger self are now meaningless to me. When compared to the harsh realities of this “holy war,” they appear to be as truthful as the promises of Lognoor himself.

And what a course of realities this war has been for me. Lognoor’s reapers and demons of the underworld accompany our army as both friends and foes. Every day and every hour, the putrid stench of the corpses of my slain comrades and foes hangs in the air. Meanwhile, I must endure the unbearable sight of the countless corpses, some possessing familiar faces, sitting or laying with static stares of terror and agony that are looking out into the abyss. Some of the faces have arrows pierced through their eyes. Many of the corpses are headless, legless, or armless from a swift swing of a blade or a burst of flaming artillery. Death, violence and bloodshed everywhere, everyday. Even the Truceday is no longer sacred.

But who are my foes in this conflict? I do not know. Is it those we clash swords with, loose arrows and shoot musket fire or hurl cannonballs toward? Is it the odd shapes in the sky that hurl thick fumes and glass balls onto the ground that once cracked will blast into an inferno? There seem to be higher powers at work here and all over Hortus that none of us can comprehend. From the seemingly random nature of the appearance of bright lights in the sky followed by glass-ball attacks, I do not doubt that the Malachonians cannot comprehend it either. There appears to be no target for the “blitzspheres.” It seems that ourselves and the Malachonians are both fighting against the wrong side.

I know this is not what you would expect from me, with my previous zest and enthusiasm at the thought of going to fight the Malachonians. I will not lie. I will admit that you were right. You were so, so very right about how far from noble it would all be. Although we do not discuss it, I am sure my comrades also feel the same way. I guess Hadrian and Althalos also feel the same way. I do so very much hope they are still alive wherever they are.

As I close this letter, I know there is more I would like to say to you both. But those things will have to wait as non-military supplies are in short supply and deliveries are so far between that we are rationed on day-to-day essentials that as civilians back home we would take for granted, such as these pages that I am writing on. I just hope that this letter gets to you both, as archery, artillery and musket attacks on dragons, griffins, rocs and their riders, many who are delivering letters both to us and back home, have become all too common.

Farewell and much love,

Hadrian. X

Please comment your thoughts below and read Chapter 3 of The Altarian Saga: The Maiden of Springhaven next week. Or you can buy the full Kindle ebook from any Amazon store (links below).

 

Copyright © 2017 - Christopher Brosnan (Pen name: C. D. Brosnan)

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