Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
In Fields of Poppies
Her father’s war was fought with tanks and guns. Bullets flew past him on an almost daily basis; the threat of a bomb falling was constant. He ran through the haze of metal with his men, his friends, his brothers, boys just barely old enough fighting for King and Country on the fields of France and the desert of northern Africa. He somehow came back unscathed. He spoke most often of the light, the awful, bright flashes of light that always preceded pain, or death, and if not for you, for your comrade, friend, brother.
Her grandfather’s war was in the trenches. He lived in damp earth among the rats and bugs while tunnellers planted bombs beneath him, and aircraft dropped shells from above. He saw men blown to bits, and others devastated by disease that rampaged through the ranks. Limbs were stolen by guns or by doctors. Lives too. Sometimes, he would say, they lingered for a while before they died. They spoke of their mothers, or their sweethearts, or their children. It was better when they went quickly. The most surprising thing, he always said, was the noise. It was something you never forgot.
Her war was unlike anything her forefathers could imagine. There was no artillery; she didn’t carry a gun. She didn’t live in a trench, or in a camp, or in any form of barracks at all. She went home after her battles-- they were fought on her homeland, the streets that she wandered through cheerfully as a child became battlefields scattered with bodies and debris. She dodged flashes of light and sent them out herself.
She supposed the light might have been the same, the terrifyingly bright flashes that lit up the night, but what was on the end of them was entirely different. No flying, piercing metal; no hope of surviving if the shooter wanted you dead and you couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. Instant death awaited, quick and painless, unless you were facing someone particularly cruel. There was less pain in the deaths of her war, but she thought (though she could never be sure), there was more fear.
The sounds that surrounded her were minimal. Her battles lacked the explosions, the bangs, the screeching that haunted her father. The silence haunted her. Eerie silence, scattered with shouts of nonsense words, the occasional sound of something collapsing as a shot missed, screams of pain or terror, pops as people came or went. Her grandfather was right; the sound was something you never forgot.
Her grandfather’s war and her father’s war were fought with metal and manpower. Hers was done with magic.
Her grandfather marched through the muddy expanse of no man’s land in the dead of the night to lay the wire or cut the enemy’s. Too often, the bodies of his comrades fell around him as they approached. He spent too many nights lying on his belly, and praying to any God he knew that he might survive.
Her father fought in the infantry. He blindly followed thousands of other men as they marched toward Germany. They fired when they were told, not so much at a target as in a general direction, hoping that they hit the right people. Bullets flew at them, and he prayed and hoped beyond belief that they would fly past him. He was always full of regret when a friend fell next to him.
She appeared from thin air when she was summoned. She was always armed; rarely did her weapon leave her person. The battles she fought were almost never planned. At least, not on her front: they were continually on the defensive. At the drop of a hat, anywhere and anytime, she would be required to appear and fight. As a result, she lived in a constant state of fear; always ready to fight for her life should the need arise.
Her grandfather went to war to do his duty. His country called on him, and so he went. Her father was far more enthusiastic; he went as soon as he could, fighting for his honor and the King’s. She fought because she had to, because she couldn’t sit by and do nothing while those around her died. She fought because this was a war entirely to do with her: her rights, her status, her entire life. Doing nothing had never been an option; her integrity would not allow it. It was always her war to win.
AN: Hello! A bit of a different story than usual here, but I hope you enjoy it :) Many many thanks to the massive number of people I made read this before I started posting.
Update 9/1/15- Fixed some typos! Thanks to everyone who pointed them out! (And please feel free to keep doing that!)
Update 11/8/15- In process of some minor changes. :)
Insert plea for reviews here?