Krieg der Vielen - War of the Many

Written originally by Alpenraum

Krieg der Vielen - War of the Many
Tara, East Edofasia, 1945

Like most Alpenraumisch boys of his generation, Johann had always been fascinated by the concept of war.  Growing up, he spent his time campaigning in fantastical, distant lands with toy soldiers, tanks, and planes, pitting them against each other in brutal battles, each one more heroic than the last. Of course, the Alpenraumisch soldiers would always win, despite insurmountable odds and fanatical enemies. 

Like most Alpenraumisch boys of his generation, Johann’s fascination with war had been shattered when the Prime Minister spoke on the radio that day in spring 1944. It was Great Kaltachia’s darkest hour, he said, for Alpenraum’s larger and more powerful neighbour, Candanadium, had been attacked. Its colony in the western continent of Terra, called East Edofasia, bordered an independent West Edofasian confederacy, and the West Edofasians had attempted to take the city of Tara, in East Edofasia, without provocation. Therefore, the Prime Minister said, the King was calling upon all brave and loyal Alpenraumisch men to enlist, to serve overseas and do their part for King and Country. Suddenly, war was no longer something that old men boasted about in pubs and restaurants, but a word that was whispered in hush tones around the dinner table. The prospect of war frightened Johann’s parents, but he could not understand why. The army was his calling, his dream job, and now, they were seeking to prevent him from answering that calling? It was unfathomable.

He had joined the army with a smile on his face and a song on his lips. His comrades-to-be joked of taking down the treacherous Edofasian confederacy, of drinking whiskey in Scarlao once they fought past the Line of Control. That was until basic training knocked all the joy out of the prospect of war. And now, his war meant shivering in a hastily-dug trench in the middle of the worst winter Edofasia had ever seen. Men froze to death each night, and those who survived the cold had to contend with the constant threat of West Edofasian sneak attacks, snipers, and the infrequent but gory human wave attacks. Johann’s prospects were grim. There were no songs to be sung about the bitter stench of dead bodies, and the only music to be had was the booming percussion of artillery, thundering on and on like a metronome.

Suddenly, though, the voice of the guns had gone silent. Johann began to wonder why, but his thoughts were interrupted by the sight of a veritable wave of men charging towards the Kaltach trenches, screaming “TIOCFAIDH ÁR LÁ!” as they ran.

“To your positions, lads! For King and Country!” The lieutenant in charge yelled in response to the blood-curdling Edofasian war cry. Others took up the cry as Johann rushed to the front of the trench, firing blindly at the oncoming wave. The lieutenant fell, the two pips on his epaulettes marking him as a valuable target for the Edofasian marksmen. The guns began booming once more. Johann's ears rang. He paid no mind to that and kept firing.  He had killed at least four of them by the time the charge ended.  For the most part, the Edofasians had not reached the trench, some stopped a half-mile away, while others stopped near inches from it.  The bodies within arms’ reach were pulled into the trench and relieved of their ammunition, weapons, and valuables, before being dumped in one of the mass graves. Those clinging on to life were carried off in stretchers to be questioned by the Eternal Legion, towards the rear of the Kaltach lines. The Edofasians had been charging more often recently. There were probably piles of dead Edofasians somewhere in the no man's land that central Tara had become. Johann moved along the trench, occasionally lending a hand to the medics as the injured or dead allies were carted off.  Some were Alpenraumisch, others Candanadian, but even more were locals, Edofasians who volunteered to fight for Candanadium in one of the colonial regiments. Sometimes the only way you could distinguish the troops was by the make of the uniform, because not much else was put together on their body.

Two Days Later

Johann sat down on a flight of stairs with his breakfast, his rifle sitting next to him. He shovelled canned scrambled eggs and cold baked beans into his mouth, thinking about how he wanted to go home to Küstenberg, the gleaming capital, to be with his family and friends.  He thought about his family and friends a lot, although most of his friends were serving with him in the King’s Own Alpenian Regiment. He had just been talking to one of them yesterday when a mortar shell came whistling down. Johann managed to get to cover, but his friend wasn’t so lucky. The last time he saw him was when he was carried away in a stretcher, his lower half covered by a bloody sheet. He couldn’t get the expression on his face out of his head. Pure terror in his eyes, looking directly at Johann. He quickly tried to think of something else, something happy to lift his spirits somewhat. There wasn’t much happiness surrounding him, only death. His mind led him to one place though. Petra. The one who was waiting for him. He hadn’t written her a letter in a while, and this was as good a time as any. Finishing off the last bites of his meagre breakfast, he walked through the muddy trenches to the field post office. He made an attempt to stomp the mud off of his boots before he walked in, grabbed a paper and pen, and began writing.

Dear Petra…

Küstenberg, Alpenraum

Petra sat in an armchair in her living room. It was shaping up to be a quiet day in the city, and she picked up a book, a paperback she had bought the other day. Petra lived in the Cultural District of Küstenberg, the home of beautiful architecture and art displays, the place where the postcard pictures were taken and where all the tourists from around the world came to gawk. It was also close to the Eternal Legion’s headquarters. The Eternal Legion was a very large Gendermarie type of unit in Alpenraum.  They were a Military Police force that also is trained as a full-fledged fighting soldier.  Some brigades had even been deployed in Edofasia to fight. Not only did they fight in the war, but they also handled mail, packaging, and other things coming in from troops stationed overseas, so when an Eternal Legion soldier showed up at her doorstep with a light blue envelope, she knew exactly what it was.  He dropped it in the mailbox quickly, and left, presumably to deliver other mail from soldiers fighting in Edofasia. Petra practically sprinted to the mailbox.  She quickly opened it, grabbing the letter.  She opened quickly.  She skimmed through the letter.  

“Milo was hit by a mortar..”.  She turned to her mother, who had heard the ruckus and had investigated.  She gasped.  “Johann doesn’t even know what happened to him after, but he’s looking for him in the medical stations.”.  Her mother gasped and broke into tears.  The only thing comprehensible that her mother could say was “Why?”.  Petra started crying too.  Milo was one of her best friends.  And there could be a possibility she’d never see him again.  After a while, she gathered herself enough to read the rest of the letter.  She sighed in slight relief.  Johann seems to be doing okay. 

One Month Later

Dear Petra,

I haven’t had much time or energy to write you. We finally made it to the city. Right now, thousands of troops and tanks are being moved in to retake the rest of Tara. I just heard from the Captain that our regiment is taking part. Fortunately, I found Milo. They say he’s being sent to a hospital in Thüle, and then back home to recover, but you probably would’ve seen him already by the time this letter reaches you. Leon and Klaus are here as well, I saw them a few days ago. They’re in one of the armoured regiments. Whoever gave those idiots a tank is out of their mind. From what they’ve said, Hans was killed during an operation. Shrapnel caught him in the throat when he looked out of the tank’s hatch. It was quick, but you’ve probably also already learned that by the time this gets to you. Look. I don’t know when we’re going to meet again.  But we will meet again. Keep smiling Petra, because this world needs more happiness.  Whatever happens to me and everyone else, just keep smiling and being kind.  If more people would be kind, maybe peace will come about in this world, but what do I know about peace when all I’ve done is kill people? Anyways, write me back when you get this.  I miss you and the family.  I hope to see you soon.


Six Months Later
Küstenberg, Capital of Alpenraum

Petra looked to the blue sky. The bright blue sky. She looked at the mountains, rising high over her. She thought of all that happened. She teared up as she pinned the Blue Rose Cross onto Johanns Jacket.

“I guess we did meet again, Johann.  Just not in the way we wanted.”

The anthem began to play, softly.

Land der Berge, Land am Strome…

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