“You have told me what you know of the Rouenite war, little as it may be. Do you know more of the Barbaran Uprising?” Edaran had a feeling he’d been asked this question before. He put a finger to his lips and tapped as he tried to drag up the memories of the many lessons he’d had with his Uncle, who sat patiently, hands laced together.
                “It began when my brother was fifteen and I was seven.” He tried his hardest to ignore the similarities between then and now, or he might not be able to carry on this lesson. Edaran did not want to run away again. “I don’t remember back then. But a few decades after the Rouenite war, after Louena had become weakened from prolonged conflict, the Barbarans began fighting us.” It was as simple as that, Edaran guessed.
                “But why. We know the Rouenites desired some semblance of revenge. So then why do the Barbarans fight us?” Edaran thought deeply on this. An uprising would have to follow a suppression. From what he knew, there had been no such wars in recent times, nothing that would give the Barbarans cause to attack unprovoked unless it was simply in their nature. But nature could not count for everything surely? Wouldn’t blood lust require some king of fuel, like a fire needs logs?
                Edaran’s mind went backwards, far back in time until it came to him. “When our people first settled on this land, the Barbarans did not welcome us. They were violent people who didn’t want to share what they had, so they fought us. In the end, we drove them out and forced them to cease attacking us.” That could be the only answer. But something didn’t seem right to him. “Uncle, the Barbarans, and the Rouenites especially, their hatred stems from so very long ago. Surely these cannot be the only reasons?”
                “There is no reasoning. Hatred does odd things to a man. It can turn the best man into a murderer, and make the quietest boy forsake what he knows and go to terrible lengths. Hatred ultimately breeds revenge, an unquenchable vengeance that consumes all, even the very thing that inspired it. There are too many that desire revenge for some imaginary slight or other. Now imagine that a whole nation seeks revenge. As centuries pass, the true reason can be forgotten and what spreads from this is a feud passed down to each proceeding generation. And this is where reason falls short. What did His Majesty the King ever do to Rakh’uun, the current leader of the Rouenites? What did His Majesty the King ever do to Gorran Dolt, leader of the Barbarans?” He sat, as if waiting for an answer.
                Edaran jumped when he finally realised that his Uncle was waiting for him, so engrossed he had been. “Erm—they did nothing, it all happened in the past.”
                “Exactly.” His Uncle stood up then and moved around Edaran.
                “Unfortunately, I have no books on the Uprising, it is so recent. Some believe it has not yet finished though there have been no stirrings in nearly a whole year. As I know it, there have been, as yet, no books recorded. It was my hope that your brother would speak of this so that you could learn more.” His Uncle would not look at him then, as he spoke. “But like hatred, war also does odd things to a man. A man can become plagued with images, horrors too great to articulate. Murder is no easy thing.” The old man seemed to be talking to himself now. “They often say an intelligent man makes the worst soldier, for they think too much, but once an intelligent man learns to justify the act, an intelligent man can become the best soldier, or the worst, depending on your view.”                         

The End

31 comments about this story Feed