"The enemies you were so kind to today will slay my men tomorrow. And yet you ask us to let them live, Temple Knightling..."
Today I had another argument with Lord Mieuseloir over the treatment of prisoners of war. The Goddess Altana does not permit the wanton slaying of captives, be they beastman or person.
The matter was resolved when I brought an order from the Papsque. Mieuseloir was far from pleased.
The constant battles had left my company of knights weary and irritable.
So what was the point of my visiting all of those beastman settlements? After Leada escaped, the church decided to pardon me and placed me as an inspector in a company of Royal Knights. Every day since has been spent with people and beastmen killing one another before my very eyes.
Among the squads in my company, the Red Wolves, led by Mieuseloir, stand out for both their valor and the perverse delight they seem to take in slaughtering beastmen.
In an environment such as this, people and beastmen seem no more than animals that are able to speak.
Every day finds a new way to show me my powerlessness.
Goddess, what meaning has this horrible war?
The forces of Altana carried the day today.
A company of BastokanIron Musketeers was arrayed behind the defensive wall along the ridge in the western half of the Batallia Downs. While the blazing of firearms drew the attention of the main beastman contingent, the Royal Knights flanked them and launched a mounted attack from far to their rear.
The opening of a second front knocked the beastman forces into disarray. They quickly collapsed, giving the allied army a rout. In an attempt to prevent further slaughter, I mounted a chocobo and raced after the Royal Knights, following them to the entrance of a tunnel that led to the Beaucedine Glacier.
The corpses of slain beastmen lay scattered near the entrance to the tunnel--it was too late. I leapt off the chocobo and headed into the tunnel on foot. Dread welled up within me, keeping me alert.
It was a nightmare! Instead of beastman bodies, allied soldiers were heaped one upon another. I could not bear to look at this horror.
No sooner had I caught my breath than a war cry roared from deeper within the cave, shaking the walls. This was followed by an agonized scream--the battle was not over. I rushed ahead.
Near the north exit of the tunnel, I could see a Gigas doing battle with a group of knights bearing the symbol of a red wolf. It was Lord Mieuseloir's Red Wolves.
At first it looked as if they were randomly attacking the beast. But a closer look indicated that they were coordinating their actions very efficiently. The knights in front used their swords to draw the Gigas's attention, rather than to actually cut him. The archers in the back kept a steady stream of arrows piercing his thick skin.
The Gigas paid no attention to the arrows and continued to swing his war axe at the adventurers, bashing their shields and sending them flying into the walls.
The fighting Gigas was a paragon of courage. I have witnessed many a battle, yet this was the first from which I could not avert my gaze.
I realized that the Gigas had a reason to sacrifice his life to protect this place. His valor told me what it was.
But the seemingly immortal Gigas soon drew near his end. An arrow buried itself deep in the Gigas's left arm. The creature shuddered and Lord Mieuseloir took advantage of the moment, leaping into the air to bring his greatsword down between the Gigas's eyes.
The knights let out a cheer as the creature crumpled to the ground, shaking the cavern. The next instant brought what I most feared. One of the knights let out a cry and charged their fallen adversary, raising his sword to strike, perhaps to avenge a fallen comrade.
"Stop!" shouted Lord Mieuseloir, before I could even find my voice. He stopped the knight with a fist to the gut.
"He stayed back to stall us while his friends retreated. I'll not allow such honor to be soiled," he pronounced clearly and without hesitation.
"Let us go, then. There are surely other glories for us this day!"
Lord Mieuseloir caught sight of me as he finished rallying his troops. He approached me, clapping me on the shoulder.
"I know not his name, but he shook the allied forces as the right arm of Enkelados. We shall mourn him."
Even I know the name Enkelados. He is one of the Uranos brothers, notorious even among the barbaric Gigas. Those who stand beside Enkelados are to be feared.
I conducted a funeral for our fallen allies as the sunset painted the sky a glowing crimson. But the ceremony was not only for our allies.
The funeral was attended by the Iron Musketeers and the Combat Casters as well as the Royal Knights. I offered up prayers for our fallen, along with prayers for the Gigas and the nameless others that were slain. None objected.
As the moon passed by Aeomatra in the constellation Shiva, I broke bread with Lord Mieuseloir for the first time.
We shared nothing more than simple conversation, but it served as a chance to relax.
When we were finished eating, he looked up at the moon and muttered "Would that I could have such a noble death." He was speaking of the Gigas.
I understood when I heard these words. What Lord Mieuseloir finds unforgivable is not that they are beastmen, but that they are his enemy.
The saving grace over all of today's bloodshed is that he also sees the beastmen as people.