A Foreign World
November, 1862. A last battle is held in Lexington, Kentucky, cornering the Union army against the Appalachian Mountains. A surrender is filed and the Civil War ends. Now it is the middle of the month, and reconstruction has begun...
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writingbythepower
Nodding, Jackson said, "Complicated seems to be the right word for it. I don't know if I want to understand his reasoning, but a part of me wishes that I could know, could know why he dislikes me so much." Giving a small laugh, he added, "I suppose I've be in the military so long that I have been able to look past its flaws. Suppose I can't understand him, simply because I'm not him."
3/8/2010 #391
SnowClaw of Windclan
Wesley felt a little tinge of guilt. He felt like he was lying by not telling him. This man had done him good, and he didn't want to leave him in the dark, but Riley was his friend...Sighing, he answered. "He doesn't like you because you're in the military. Because you're proud to be in it, because you're high in command, because you lead the people he despises..."
3/8/2010 #392
writingbythepower
"I can respect his opinions, I can. I have my own opinions that I know many people disagree with. Still, I wish that the man would just give me a chance. He tries to push me into one group, as if I'm not a human being. I'm just "the military" to him. I don't have a free mind, a free heart... I'm sorry, I'm ranting. Forgive me." He looked up toward heaven, prayed for God to forgive him for attempting to judge Riley. It was always his preference to not judge another man, even when the want or desire to do so comes upon him.
3/8/2010 #393
SnowClaw of Windclan
Wesley sighed quietly through his nose. It was impossible to explain, and yet, if he could transfer the feelings, as they weren't able to be put into words...He had the feeling that Jackson would understand, would understand the aversion Riley had to the military as a whole. He started to get up carefully, like an old dog getting up on a slick wooden floor. "I'm going to rest," he stated, starting towards his tent, "'night, general.."
3/8/2010 #394
writingbythepower
'Good night, Wesley," he said, watching the man walk over to the tent. He was about to suggest he sleep inside, keep the wound comfortable. However, if he said something like that Wesley wouldn't think of it, would see such an action as selfish and unmanly. Wesley had been trying to get out of explaining, and Jackson had done his best to understand. Yet, the need and want for an answer still came into his mind over and over again.
3/8/2010 #395
SnowClaw of Windclan
Wesley laid down on his good side--although it wasn't the one he was used to sleeping on and felt a little awkward--and curled up in the thick wool blanket he had draped over himself, trying to get comfortable. Or, as comfortable as was possible when one was recovering from a wound that was still mildly infected. Within a few minutes, he was asleep.
3/8/2010 #396
writingbythepower
Jackson continued to sit and watch the sparks of the flames fly around as the fire slowly dimmed. He continued to think of Riley, began to think of tactics, forms of ways to get some sort of answer. Shaking his head, he thought, He'll know, he'll see right past it. I've got to let life go on it's natural course, not try to meddle. It will be difficult, but God will lead me toward the path I need to take.
3/8/2010 #397
SnowClaw of Windclan
November the 29th

Marilyn Ivanov walked through the camp knowing that she was safe alone, that all of the women in this town were. It wasn't exactly a scandalous place and there were hardly very many people. She clutched two parts of her calico dress tightly in her fists as the pain came back, approaching Jackson. "Mister Jackson, if you'd like a moment I'd like to talk to you about Riley."

3/8/2010 #398
writingbythepower
Jackson was curious, wondered what Marilyn would have to say. "Certainly, ma'am. What would you like to talk about?" She of course had mentioned the topic, but he still wanted her to feel comfortable with it all, everyone seemed to have difficulty discussing this issue. Must have some weight, Jackson thought, for them to be this secretive.
3/8/2010 #399
SnowClaw of Windclan
"Mister Jackson, I wanted to tell you why Riley doesn't like you, you...deserve to know, I think..." She sighed through her nose. It felt as if there was a block of ice, searing and terrible in her chest as she started, her breath and voice beginning to shake, beginning to quaver. "When I was ten, I...I was alone, except with Riley, and...there were these soldiers that had came to our house thinking that my ma would be able to give them food...we answered the door, and..." she paused, before continuing. "Riley didn't know that...they were angry, and they took me...they held him back, and..." her eyes were swimming with tears. She swallowed. "They...they did terrible things to me general..." She dug her nails into the calico fabric so hard she thought it would surely tear. She didn't meet his eyes.
3/8/2010 #400
writingbythepower
Jackson suddenly understood, everything so clear now. Tears began to go down his cheek as he looked at the woman, walked over and hugged her. "It's alright, Marilyn. I'm sorry I asked. Please know that I would never..." he couldn't finish the sentence, found no good way to finish it. There was nothing good that could come from such a situation, nothing that he could say that could take the pain away. Tears continued down his cheek as he began to hate himself for asking, for prying, for opening up this story that deserved to be lost and forgotten.
3/8/2010 #401
SnowClaw of Windclan
Marilyn was openly sobbing into the stiff wool fabric of his uniform now, the shame and violationa and self-blame and terror all tearing into her like a sharp, icy knife. Everything was clear again, as if she were reliving it for the hundreth time, thrown into a wave of inner turmoil--no, much more than that...She didn't think, there was no thinking now, only hidous trauma brought back into light.
3/8/2010 #402
writingbythepower
He hugged her tightly, trying to help ease the pain. There was no way that he could, nothing he could say or do could stop what had happened. He began to pray in his thoughts, asking God for guidance. It hurt him now, hurt him to think that there was no way he could help her get through this time. Nothing could make him more terrified.
3/8/2010 #403
SnowClaw of Windclan
"You!" The howl of anger was recognizable as Riley's immediately. "Get away from her, you goddamn lying rat!" His voice was raw with fury, with exposed pain when he saw her tears, trembling and nearly breaking as it went quite sharp a few times. "Why did you do that to her? Go! Dammit, just go! I don't want you here and nobody else does! Because to me, you're just like every damn other man in this world claiming to serve a good cause." The last sentence was snarled through a locked jaw, gritted teeth. He covered the ground between them in a few short strides, pulled Marilyn up. His eyes were welling with hot, bitter tears as he pressed her limp form against him, "Leave!"
3/8/2010 #404
writingbythepower
Jackson took his leave, threw up his hands and walked away silently. He was still crying silently, the tears still dripping off of his face. Going away, out toward Little Sorrel, he began to stand beside his horse, petting him. He tried not to think of it, of what had been done to Marilyn. The actions couldn't be describe, couldn't be thought of. They were pushed from his mind, but then they came back and the guilt and shame came back. Evil men, he thought, fill ever cause. Why does it have to be that way?
3/8/2010 #405
SnowClaw of Windclan
For a long moment the two stood there, tightly pressed together by means of Riley's embrace; Marilyn had moved against his form, pressed her face into his chest, didn't care that he smelled of dirt and horse and sweat and all things between....For a moment they were both living the same experience all over again, unable to close of their own thoughts, coming to each other for consolement although neither was able to provide.
3/8/2010 #406
writingbythepower
Jackson continued to stand, then sat down and stared at the dirt. He tried not to think, everyone of his thoughts turning to Marilyn. There was no reason for anyone to think of that, to experience that. The dirt moved slightly in the wind, the dust moving about his feet. The thoughts came back, and he threw his head back in agony. Now he prayed to God that the thoughts would go away, that he had never known this. But there was nothing, nothing, nothing he could do.
3/8/2010 #407
SnowClaw of Windclan
It felt like hours passed as the two stood there, it felt as if the entire camp stopped moving, went back to their tents. Wesley quietly approached Jackson, limping and fighting the pain tearing through him. "General, it's not your fault. You...you didn't know..." He sighed softly, closing his eyes.

"Riley, I..." She was quiet for a moment, "At that moment in time she would have given anything to stay in his arms. "I...have to go back, Riley. I'll be alright..." Riley closed his eyes, gently, quietly moving away. He tried to find words but couldn't. Instead he just nodded numbly.

3/8/2010 #408
writingbythepower
Jackson shook his head. "That doesn't matter, Wesley. You know that and I know that. It doesn't matter what I knew, just as much as it doesn't matter that I wish I could find and kill the men who did that. It doesn't matter because there's nothing I can do about it, and that's why I can see now. I can see exactly why..." He continued to cry silently, trying to keep it silently.
3/8/2010 #409
SnowClaw of Windclan
Wesley closed his eyes, sighing. "Riley doesn't---" He shook his head slightly. "He was a kid, General, and...everything, you want it to be easy when you're a kid, and what you start to think sticks... It's not fair, but--" There were no words to explain the feelings of the situation, th hopeless mediator in a foreign world...
3/8/2010 #410
writingbythepower
Jackson raised his hand, gestured for the man to stop talking. "It doesn't matter, Wesley. It doesn't matter..." He went over, got on Little Sorrel and began to ride. He didn't know where too, knew where he shouldn't go and where he could, but there was no real destination. At the moment, his mind was wandering as much as his body wanted too. Nothing made sense, nothing wanted to be simple, nothing good.
3/8/2010 #411
SnowClaw of Windclan
Riley had gone to his tent prematurely and finally fallen into a troubled sleep, seeking the relief of another dimension. Wesley stood there for a long time, wished that things could be easier than they were, if only...

The sun was setting now, and Wesley had since laid down with the ritual cup of milk, drank it, gone into a quiet rest to help his injury. Fortunately it was recovering, although he doubted that he would ever be the same once more.

3/8/2010 #412
writingbythepower
Jackson returned as the sun began to set. His uniform was dirty, covered in dust. Little Sorrel seemed tired, the walk seemed to take forever. After tying the horse up, he immediately got out his bed roll and layed down on it, sleeping almost immediately. His dreams were filled with screams, terrors, things he had seen on battlefields... his mind had no shelter from the things that had come into it earlier. Everything around him seemed evil...
3/8/2010 #413
SnowClaw of Windclan
November 30

Riley awoke with the faint traces of the previous day's trauma feeling like they were etched permanently into his mind. However, as sleep, and time, heal all wounds, the pain was somewhat faded, and wasn't as bad as it had been before. The anger with the general--or, the above normal amount--had seemingly faded alongside it, although there was still a lasting resentment towards him.

3/8/2010 #414
writingbythepower
Jackson woke early, sat there and kept his eyes close. The world was filled with pain, pain he did not wish to endure right now. The moments of the previous day were still on his mind, and now the thought of everything that was evil and sin filled came into his mind. It was all so terrible, everything that he could think about. He prayed every few minutes, prayed that the thoughts would leave his mind, that he could be free from them. He wasn't, so now he prayed that they wouldn't affect his judgement, his mind.
3/8/2010 #415
SnowClaw of Windclan
Getting up he realized that he was quite stiff. He mustered a large stretch and went out to feed the horses, tacking up the White Face and pausing for a long moment before approaching the general's tent. "We're going to patrol the creek in five minutes." He stated, before moving off and back to his own agenda.
3/9/2010 #416
writingbythepower
Jackson didn't even nod, simply sat there in silence. Standing and getting dressed, he finally went over to his horse and rode off toward the rest of the party, his cap hanging low so that his eyes could not be seen. His face was had no emotion, everything that filled his body was blank and silent.
3/10/2010 #417
SnowClaw of Windclan
Riley ignored him, for the most part. There was always the irritation at Jackson's presence, as he didn't like the fact that he was here in the least. He brought the White Face into a trot, heading down towards the waters and stirring up dust behind him. The stallion snorted, tossing his head and abruptly swinging his neck to take a outhful of Little Sorrel's mane, snorting loudly through his nose. "Aye." Riley jerked back on the reins, bringing the White Face's stunning head back towards a centered position.
3/10/2010 #418
writingbythepower
Little Sorrel moved back, startled by the other horse's actions. Jackson, however, did not flinch. He continued forward, not taking notice to anything it seemed. The cap hung low, his eyes only able to see a few feet away from his horse. The sun beat down on the earth and the riders, their hats and clothing protecting them from the rays as best they could. Sweat began to drip down Jackson's brow, but he didn't wipe it away. It truly didn't seem to matter in the least to him, not at the moment.
3/11/2010 #419
SnowClaw of Windclan
The White Face snorted, flaring his nostrils and tossing his head again. He played with the bit with his tongue, creating a clicking noise as it hit his teeth. He moved for Little Sorrel again, his ears pricked in interest, and Riley jerked back his head. The stallion tossed it again and pawed the ground as Riley spurred him into an unwilling trot.
3/11/2010 #420
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