Once Upon a Time

Lucas stares in horror as the soldiers drag the young woman from her home. He’s just a low ranked medic and has little sway in how the war is conducted. He can simply tremble in both fear and rage as he witnesses atrocity after atrocity. He leans against a stone wall , feeling dizzy with emotion. His normally smooth brown complexion is flushed red with blood and he feels it pounding his temples. For a second, he considers physically confronting these soldiers, who are beginning to rape the young woman. Her simple peasant dress is pulled up over her head and wrapped around her arms, effectively pinning her to the dirty ground. Her legs are thrust apart and she’s kicking the air futilely. They are slapping her and beating her, and one after the other, defile her. 

 

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It was only a few minutes ago that Lucas was cleaning and binding a grunt’s wound when he saw that a group of soldiers had chased some of the enemy into their home. The soldiers were pounding on the door and yelling at the men to come out so they may have their way with them. They were like an angry mob. Suddenly the door opened slightly and a young scared woman was pushed out the door. She fell to the ground in front of the men. Shrieking, she scrambled in mortal fear , scratching across the hot earth on all fours and then franticly banged on the door to be let back in. Trapped , the young woman shrank into a ball and stuffed herself into a corner of the doorway. The men laughed at her and slapped each others backs in celebratory anticipation of what was to come.

Lucas , feeling impotent, headed back to camp. “There is nothing that can be done,” he thought. The General condoned this type of treatment of an enemy. The” ‘Spoils of War’,” he called it. Lucas could only mourn for the young woman, as women who had been raped were considered ruined and worthless, and were typically slaughtered. Only the virgins were saved. Lucas , a child of rape himself , knew only too well how horribly women were treated. His mother was forced to marry the man that raped her. This was a direct order from the General Himself. Lucas grew up in a household where violence was commonplace , his mother receiving the brunt of it. There were countless times he would sneak his mother a cold compress to apply to a split lip or a swollen eye. It was then, as a child , that Lucas swore he would never inflict pain on others and would seek to protect the helpless.

The war has been going on for years and General Adonai was not known for holding back against the enemy. He would release a pestilence upon them if it helped his cause. His soldiers believe him to be mighty and awesome , and feared him ; which was his intent. He had annihilated whole cities simply because they did not recognize his power. This was a common offense , as the many tribes of this region were often loyal to their local generals. In fact most only knew their own leaders and the history of their own peoples. These histories were passed down generation after generation in oral stories and poems. The General would not allow his people to intermingle in any way with the conquered . He had his corporals give great speeches explaining how he did not want his nation to be corrupted by these other peoples’ cultures. He did not want any intermingling of blood and would not allow any intermarriage. He would never make any treaty with them and demanded that our soldiers show the enemy no mercy.

Over the years , Lucas taught himself the discipline of healing so he could relieve suffering. He was becoming a competent physician, but once he was of fighting age, he was conscripted to General Adonai’s army. Refusing to fight , he received many beatings. One day, after such a beating , he dragged himself into the large tent that housed many of the lower soldiers – the weak or infirm. He was observed , by an officer of rank , attending to the other soldiers instead of going to his bed. Most of these men have received some sort of attention from him already. He rechecked bandages , poured olive oil on vicious wounds , or applied the appropriate fruit leaves. The officer recommended him to become the army medic. He no longer had to fight.

Lucas tended the soldiers as per his station , but late at night , he would sneak out into whatever village they were occupying, and attempt to help the abundant sick and injured there. Most of his patients were women or children since most of the men were killed or slaughtered by the General. He would sneak in supplies and clean water and linens for the villagers when he could. One day he even delivered a baby. He gave the woman a special tea he made that would help dull her pain. It wasn’t enough to fully comfort the mother who screamed and cursed while pushing out her child. “I wish women didn’t have to go through such painful childbirth,” Thought Lucas , “What a curse!”

Out of uniform The villagers and the soldiers looked quite similar , as if they were related ; which if you go back a few generations , they were. But you can differentiate them by the missing lobe on the left ear of the soldiers. General Adonai demanded this of his fighting men. Lucas tugged at his ear absentmindedly , a habit he developed , since it was he that currently did the majority of lobe-otomies. Previous men that performed this service took great pride in it, believing they were following the Generals will and that the men were better for it. They were also rough about it. Hard men were quickly brought to tears when a portion of their ear was hacked off by these zealots. “At least we weren’t forced to mutilate an important part of the body,” thought Lucas. He wasn’t happy that he was made to do this , but he knew how to perform the incision precisely, so as not to cause pain. He took the time to apply the herbs necessary for quick healing.

The General had many such rules and demands of his people. Lucas found it amazing that the people were attracted to this life and revered the General with so much zealousness. After all , he micro-managed so much of their life : from their diet, to their dress , to their home life rituals. He demanded absolute cleanliness and ritual cleanings and would cast ‘unclean’ people out. The unclean included women who were considered such during their monthly time of menstruation. “Did he not understand that this was a natural physical process that was necessary for reproduction ?” thought Lucas. He was also very severe in his treatment of his soldiers. If a squad failed to assemble before him for roll call , he would send out elite soldiers to kill them and their families , sparing no one , except of course the virgins. He had quite an obsession with virgins. It was his opinion that the tribes of other nations were not worthy of his land. He ruthlessly moved his armies across the land , wiping out whole peoples. He would burn their altars , chop down their sacred trees , smash their homes to rubble and utterly destroy any remnants of their society.

Occasionally the General didn’t utterly wipe out a city he took in battle. If a city was far from the nation , he would first offer them a peaceful surrender , contingent on them opening  the gates without a fight. Then he would subject them to forced labor and the servitude.  Leaving them to the merices of the people he would leave behind to populate the city. Lucas was in such a city when General Adonai was leading a regiment through the city square, inspecting his new land. Lucas was anesthetizing a slave’s wound with wine, when suddenly rotten pomegranates from the sky began splattering the drab green uniforms of the soldiers. Lucas jumped up to see what was going on. Apparently some of the children , hiding behind wagons or behind their primitive dwellings, were unleashing their impromptu weapons upon the army. Adonai cursed the children and unleashed a pack of vicious army dogs upon them. The dogs ripped the screaming children apart as well as anyone who tried to help them. When the screaming was over, all you heard was the growling and barks of the dogs as they fought over the various body parts. That and the intermittent wailing of the distraught parents. It happened so quickly, Lucas was powerless to help. He could only seethe and curse this General whose ways were so incomprehensible to him. “How does the General rationalize this evil ?” Lucas thought. He claims to have his peoples’ best interest at heart. He considers himself righteous in these actions.

The General wasn’t the only vicious man in the army. There was corporal Sampson. A large ape of a man who was reputed to be a great drunk and a gambler. Lucas , had always avoided him as Sampson had little respect for Lucas’ profession. His attitude was that if you weren’t a fighter , you weren’t a real man. He was always further trying to prove his manhood by attempting relations with every woman who crossed his path. But his great vice was games of chance. One day he was gambling with some of the soldiers and lost everything he had and more. He couldn’t pay his debts so he beseeched the General for help. He was sent into the next village with a small regiment of men. They attacked , killed and robbed the villagers. He returned with his plunder and was able to pay off his debts. Afterwards , Lucas snuck into the town , hoping to find some survivors and nurse them back to health. He was too late. Sobbing , Lucas vowed to find a way to leave the Generals army . He swore he would tell anyone that sought to follow the General about the atrocities the General represented. He would convince such a person that they didn’t need to adopt these ways , and were better off living their life for their own sake. Lucas knew that he wasn’t strong enough to oppose the General and his army physically , but he could reject them absolutely , and live a life of humane morality. He would use his skills to bring good to this world. He did not need rules of conduct to know how to live his life righteously.

Draft II and Outline – Part I

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