It is something that I think we tend to overlook in the mad rush to ruin of late – simple pleasures stretched across long hours of nothing but enjoying the company of another. It was a rare set of hours for Trooper and I, spent over good food and some bows.
Arrows flew through the superheated heat, his to their intended target, and my own often askew. Being new to the art I was trying too hard. Let the bow merely balance on your left hand, the arrow in the right fingers with hardly any touch. Above all, just bring it up and shoot – do not think it overmuch. Just up and gone with your mind setting it free more than your hands.
That natural skill is something that he has innately. His mind and soul were meant for the battle, his eye perfected for the target. This was apparent when I first met him and it was part of his charm. There was really nothing he feared and he never met a stranger. I would stand a bit apart and marvel at how he could just approach anyone and soon have them bent to his goodwill, ready to do what they could to help him.
I didn’t know then – as I do now – why there was such fearlessness and fun in him. He told me only recently a story of a paved over length of equitorial land, and a kill zone for all those good men who were falling. Nothing for it – not for a man like him – but to get to work. Souls rended along with flesh and bone with enemy whirling away in wisps of smoke. A vision, a scent, that must never truly leave him but one that he could never really discuss. But time passes and eventually that invisible dateline is crossed and details can be touched then discarded for good.
For good. He thinks himself damned, I reckon, for the pitiless duty flown on brass. Me, I know better. He has another life and another war, another world and another love…men like him are meant to serve and are so few that they must always serve. They could no more lay down arms in a heaven clean and bright than they could surrender their honor. Oh, some R&R, perhaps. A time away. But there is good to be done. Forever. And some people are simply called to it, over and over again. Until we are all perfected.