Wednesday, November 9, 2011

These Hallowed Dead

In a narrow clearing of the Forest of Ephraim, the blood-soaked ground was strewn with the detritus of battle: shattered weapons, abandoned equipment and the bodies of the slain. On a low rise at the north end of the clearing, the battered survivors stood; some attending their wounded comrades, others nursing their own wounds, still others preparing their dead for burial.

In the midst of these sat Eleazar, cradling the bloody head of Josheb in his arms, rocking back and forth gently, as tears streamed silently down his grime-streaked face. His eyes gazing sightless into the middle distance, he held his comrade and mourned.

He mourned the loss of the friendship forged in the midst of the peril of combat. He mourned the unspoken bonds of companionship and affection that would remain forever unexpressed. He mourned, for the family of his friend; their loss of a husband and father. Most painful of all was the vivid recollection of Josheb’s final moments of life: a warrior unto the death, he had struggled to aid his fellows while grievously wounded.

Eleazar relived his vain, desperate attempt to divert the deathblow that had claimed the life of the Chief of the Three. The memory replayed itself again and again and with each repetition, he mourned and wept fresh tears at his failure to save his friend.

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