David Madore's WebLog: Gratuitous Literary Fragment #159 (eve of battle)

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(Tuesday)

Gratuitous Literary Fragment #159 (eve of battle)

Tonight something unusual happened. Captain Gale was reciting Crispin's day speech while we few—we happy few—we band of brothers—sat in circle around him. Young Scott, as he harked to Gale's pellucid voice delivering the words of Henry V, was visibly struggling to contain his tears. Upon reaching the last line, the Captain silently moved next to him, sat down, opened his arms and hugged him. And then, while we stared incredulously, gently, very gently, laid a kiss at the base of Scott's neck. Scott whispered something that none of us could hear; his cheeks were wet but now he made no effort to hide them from us.

Then I saw Derek grasp Vivian's hand: Vivian turned to face him, smiled, and squeezed back. And in a minute, as if in response to an unspoken command, we had all paired with our closest sitting confederate and found solace in the trust of fraternal embrace.

As the giant Conrad was holding me, as I felt the warmth of his breath in my hair and the firmness of his muscular chest on my back, I drowned myself in his odour, friendly, familiar, comforting. He smelled of dust and sweat and homeliness, and a whiff of battle half-remembered. In that moment, a bond was formed: no longer my mere fellow soldier, Conrad was my moiety.

Tomorrow we are the sacred band. Tomorrow we fight as one.

⁂ I got my inspiration from a dreamlike vision I had tonight while remembering the lines from Shakespeare; and the scene in question has been pursuing me all day, begging to be written, so, here it is.

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